Forget about your typical EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll and make room for George Mason.
The defending conference champions George Mason became the first team besides Penn State to be ranked No. 1 in the recent history of the EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Patriots earned all but one first-place vote to finish nine points ahead of the Nittany Lions in the annual preseason poll that was released Monday. Penn State was the only other school to earn a first-place vote.
George Mason reached the NCAA Tournament last season after winning the EIVA Tournament championship to end Penn State’s streak of 18 consecutive conference titles. The Patriots also have a majority of starters returning, including all-conference setter Brian Negron and Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American libero Johnny Gomez.
“This is a nice sign of respect for our program by my peers,” George Mason coach Jay Hosack said. “It does nothing more than put a bigger bullseye on our back this season, but that is what we have been striving for. The real work starts when we get back to work in preparation for the season to start. We are excited to get after it.”
St. Francis, Princeton and NJIT round-out the top five in the poll.
This is the highest preseason ranking for the Red Flash since 2010. St. Francis finished last season upsetting Penn State in the EIVA Tournament semifinals and lost to George Mason in the conference finals.
The EIVA season begins in January and concludes with the four-team EIVA Tournament in April. The winner of the EIVA Tournament will receive an automatic berth to the six-team NCAA Tournament in May at Ohio State.
2017 EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll
1. George Mason — 63 (7) points
2. Penn State — 54 (1) points
3. St. Francis — 49 points
4. Princeton — 33 points
5. NJIT — 32 points
6. Harvard — 29 points
7. Sacred Heart — 19 points
8. Charleston — 9 points