The defending NCAA champions will start the upcoming season in the national rankings right where it ended last season.
Ohio State received all but one first-place vote to finish at atop the AVCA preseason national coaches poll that was released Thursday afternoon.
“The Buckeyes ended last season on a nation-best 23-match winning streak and won their program’s second national title in the last six years. Among the starters returning from last year’s championship team includes All-American opposite Miles Johnson, All-American setter Christy Blough and All-American outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen, who also earned the 2016 AVCA National Player of the Year.
This is the first time in the history of AVCA national coaches poll that a team from the MIVA has earned the top preseason ranking.
Ohio State received 359 points in the preseason national poll — 34 points more than No. 2 UCLA. The Bruins, which lost to the Buckeyes in the 2016 NCAA Tournament semifinals, were the only other team to receive a first-place vote.
UCLA and Ohio State will play each other during the opening weekend of the 2017 college men’s volleyball season in a non-conference match-up between the top-ranked teams in the nation.
Fellow 2016 NCAA Tournament semifinalists BYU and Long Beach State finished in the top four of the coaches poll. In addition, Pepperdine rounds out the top five of the rankings.
Among the other schools to make the preseason poll includes the defending EIVA champions George Mason at No. 10. UC Irvine also jumped into the preseason top 10 after finishing an injury-plagued 2016 season unranked.
The college men’s volleyball season will begin the first week in January and will conclude with the NCAA Tournament in May.
AVCA Division I-II Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Ohio State (23) — 359 points
2. UCLA (1) — 325 points
3. BYU — 320 points
4. Long Beach State — 291 points
5. Pepperdine — 221 points
6. Lewis — 211 points
7. Hawai’i — 204 points
8. UC Irvine — 159 points
9. Stanford — 150 points
10. George Mason — 138 points
11. Loyola — 125 points
12. UC Santa Barbara — 120 points
13. Penn State — 95 points
14. CSUN — 61 points
15. Ball State — 47 points
Others receiving votes: St. Francis 35, Cal Baptist 10, USC 6