The defending NCAA champions Ohio State now has the tag of preseason favorites for a conference title to go along with its growing list of preseason accolades.
The Buckeyes received all but two first-place votes to finish atop MIVA Preseason Coaches Poll that was released on Thursday.
Ohio State en route to winning back-to-back national titles last season became the second team in the rallying scoring era to go undefeated in the MIVA. In addition, the Buckeyes last week were ranked No. 1 in the preseason national coaches poll.
Three Buckeye returning starters were named to the Preseason All-MIVA Team, including outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen. The two-time MIVA Player of the Year and 2017 International Player of the Year also was selected on Thursday as the 2018 Preseason MIVA Player of the Year.
Lewis led all schools with four Preseason All-MIVA selections and finished in second place in the MIVA preseason poll with 54 votes — seven votes fewer than Ohio State. Ball State, the only other school besides Ohio State to receive a first-place vote, came in third place with 50 votes.
Along with these schools, Loyola and McKendree round-out the top five of the preseason poll.
The MIVA season begins in January and concludes with the conference tournament in April. The winner of the MIVA Tournament will receive an automatic berth to the seven-team NCAA Tournament.
The MIVA has won the last four NCAA championships and five NCAA titles this decade.
2018 MIVA Preseaosn Coaches Poll
1. Ohio State — 61 (6) points
2. Lewis — 54 points
3. Ball State — 50 (2) points
4. Loyola — 43 points
5. McKendree — 30 points
6. Lindenwood — 22 points
7. Fort Wayne — 20 points
8. Quincy — 8 points
Preseason All-MIVA Team
Setter: Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis
Outside attacker: Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Outside attacker: Maxime Hervoir, Ohio State
Outside attacker: Collin Mahan, Loyola
Outside attacker: Mitch Perinar, Lewis
Outside attacker: Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
Outside attacker: Matt Szews, Ball State
Middle attacker: Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
Middle attacker: Blake Leeson, Ohio State
Middle attacker: Brendan Schmidt, McKendree
Middle attacker: Matt Walsh, Ball State
Libero: Michael Simmons, Lewis
2018 MIVA Preseason Player of the Year: Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State