BYU will open the season as the favorite to repeat as conference champions.
The Cougars received all but three first-place votes to finish atop the MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll that was released on Monday.
BYU ended last season winning its third MPSF championship in the last four years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament finals. Among the starters returning for the Cougars include four Off the Block/Springbak Preseason All-Americans — middle attacker Price Jarman, outside attacker Jake Langlois, opposite Ben Patch and outside attacker Brenden Sander.
UCLA was the only other school to receive first-place votes in the preseason poll and finished eight points behind the Cougars at No. 2. In addition, Long Beach State earned 103 points, eight fewer points than UCLA, to claim the No. 3 conference ranking.
Both UCLA and Long Beach State reached the NCAA Tournament semifinals last season and had multiple players earn Preseason All-American honors.
Along with these schools, UC Irvine, Pepperdine and Hawai’i round-out the top half of the preseason poll.
A team ranked No. 1 in the conference’s preseason poll has won the MPSF regular season championship only three times since 2006. BYU, though, has twice achieved the feat in 2014 and 2016.
The MPSF season begins in January and concludes with the eight-team MPSF Tournament in April. The MPSF Tournament champion will receive an automatic berth to the six-team NCAA Tournament in May.
2017 MPSF PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. BYU — 119 (9) points
2. UCLA — 111 (3) points
3. Long Beach State — 103 points
4. UC Irvine — 79 points
5. Pepperdine — 73 points
6. Hawai’i — 63 points
7. Stanford — 61 points
8. UC Santa Barbara — 58 points
9. CSUN — 53 points
10. USC — 36 points
11. Cal Baptist — 24 points
12. UC San Diego — 12 points