Lewis picks up where it left off in Division II coaches poll

Jonathan Bates | Off the Block associate editor

The top-two teams in the final 2018 Off the Block/Springbak Division II National Coaches Poll start atop of the poll that was released Tuesday evening. Lewis received all eight first-place votes and Concordia-Irvine received seven of eight second-place votes.

No. 1 Lewis split a pair of home match this past opening weekend, by sweeping North Greenville on Friday, and losing to No. 3 UC Irvine in four games. Middle attackers Tyler Mitchem and TJ Murray are tied for the team lead in kills (15) and blocks (8). The Flyers entered the 2019 season as preseason favorites to win the MIVA, and they also had a conference-best five selections to the preseason all-conference team. This coming weekend, Lewis travels to Bristol, Tennessee, to take defending ConfCarolinas champion King as well as Mount Olive.

No. 2 Concordia-Irvine took part in the Asics Invitational at UC Santa Barbara this past weekend, where it dropped all three matches to ranked Big West opponents. This coming weekend, the Eagles travel to Hawaii to take on USC, Hawai’i, and NJIT. Concordia-Irvine is paced by outside attack Jordan Hoppe’s 3.0 kills per game average and 2018 All-American honorable mention middle attacker Hunter Howell’s 10 blocks.

No. 3 UC San Diego lost both of its opening road matches at MPSF opponents this weekend. The Tritons enter 2019 trying to fill holes created by the graduation of Division II National Player of the Year opposite Tanner Syftestad and four-year starter setter Milosh Stojcic.

Coach Kevin Ring signed one of the nation’s top freshman setters in Blake Crisp, who spent the summer with U.S. Men’s Junior National Team. UC San Diego continues its road trip this weekend by taking on a pair of EIVA foes – Sacred Heart and defending EIVA champions Harvard.

No. 4 Barton is the consensus favorite to win the ConfCarolinas title in 2019. All of its offensive weapons return from the 2018 team that lost in the conference tournament finals. This group includes outside attacker Vasilis Mandilaris, who was named ConfCarolinas Player of the Week on Monday.

Barton dropped its first match of the year against defending EIVA regular champions George Mason. This Saturday it welcomes the defending national champions Long Beach State to Wilson, North Carolina for a non-conference match.

No. 5 Lindenwood was off last week.

The Lions were picked sixth in the preseason MIVA poll. Senior middle attacker Connor Hipelius was named to the Preseason All-MIVA team. This weekend Lindenwood starts the 2019 season by welcoming Charleston and NCAA Tournament runner-up UCLA to St. Charles, Missouri.

Rounding out of the poll are Charleston and King.

Both NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II men’s volleyball programs compete for the same national championship. The AVCA National Coaches Poll ranks the top 15 Division I-II men’s volleyball teams and is released each Monday during the regular season.

A national voting committee comprised of coaches from the more than 20 Division II teams determines the weekly rankings for the Division II National Coaches Poll.

Off the Block is a website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

The Division II National Coaches Poll will be released on the Off the Block website every Tuesday during the regular season.

Off the Block Division II Coaches Poll

Rank Team Record Points 2018 Final Trend
1 Lewis 1-1 40 (8) 1
2 Concordia-Irvine 0-3 31 2
3 UC San Diego 0-2 20 5 +2
4 Barton 0-1 14 RV
5 Lindenwood 0-0 8 RV

Others receiving votes: Charleston 5, King 1