There is a clear separation entering the season between the top-three teams in the MIVA and everyone else in the conference.
Lewis edged out Loyola and Ohio State to finish atop the MIVA Preseason Poll that was released on Thursday.
The three schools were all within five points of each other in the poll. In addition, the teams combined to received all but one of the first-place votes with Lewis leading all schools having been voted No. 1 on four of the conference coaches’ ballots.
The Flyers finished last season in fourth place in the MIVA and advanced to the conference tournament semifinals. Lewis also was ranked No. 7 in the preseason national coaches poll — the highest ranking for a MIVA team and a non-West Coast team.
Along with the top spot in the MIVA preseason poll, Lewis led all teams with five Preseason All-MIVA selections.
Loyola had two players earn preseason honors — including outside attacker Collin Mahan, who was voted the MIVA Preseason Player of the Year. The defending MIVA champions Ohio State garnered three Preseason All-MIVA selections.
Ball State was the only other school to receive a first-place vote in the MIVA poll. The Cardinals finished in fourth place and 15 points behind the third-place Buckeyes.
Purdue Fort Wayne, Lindenwood, McKendree and Quincy round-out the bottom half of the preseason poll.
The MIVA regular season will begin in January and conclude with the eight-team MVIA Tournament in April. The conference tournament champion will receive the MIVA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2019 MIVA Preseason Poll
1. Lewis — 58 (4) points
2. Loyola — 54 (1) points
3. Ohio State — 53 (2) points
4. Ball State — 38 (1) points
5. Purdue Fort Wayne — 36 points
6. Lindenwood — 23 points
7. McKendree — 18 points
8. Quincy — 8 points
2019 Preseason MIVA Player of the Year
Collin Mahan, Loyola outside attacker
2019 Preseason All-MIVA
Setter: Sanil Thomas, Ohio State
Setter: Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis
Setter: Garrett Zolg, Loyola
Opposite: Jake Hanes, Ohio State
Opposite: Mitch Perinar, Lewis
Outside attacker: Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Outside attacker: Collin Mahan, Loyola
Outside attacker: Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
Middle attacker: Connor Hipelius, Lindenwood
Middle attacker: Blake Leeson, Ohio State
Middle attacker: Tyler Mitchem, Lewis
Libero: Michael Simmons, Lewis