Purdue Fort Wayne may have the projected top player in the conference, but Lewis will enter 2020 as the preseason favorites to win the MIVA championship.
The defending conference champions Lewis received all but one first-place vote to finish atop the MIVA Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Monday.
The Flyers edged out the Mastodons, the only other team to earn a first-place vote, by nine points for the top ranking. However, Purdue Fort Wayne outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas was named the Preseason MIVA Player of the Year.
Lewis finished last season winning its first conference championship since 2012 and defeated USC in the NCAA Tournament opening round. Four Preseason All-MIVA selections return for Flyers, including All-American outside attacker Ryan Coenen who was recently named to the college men’s volleyball All-Decade Team.
Vargas led Purdue Fort Wayne and was in the nation’s top 15 with a 3.83 kills per game average last season. The senior outside attacker and MIVA All-Decade Team selection also was among the conference leaders in 2019 averaging 1.74 digs per game.
The No. 2 conference ranking is one of the highest preseason rankings for the Mastodons since 2008 when they were a year removed from reaching the NCAA Tournament finals.
Loyola and McKendree round-out the top half of the conference’s preseason poll.
The MIVA season will begin in February and concluded with the eight-team conference tournament in April. The winner of the MIVA Tournament will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2020 MIVA Preseason Poll
1. Lewis — 63 (7) points
2. Purdue Fort Wayne — 52 (1) points
3. Loyola — 46 points
4. McKendree — 36 points
5. Ohio State — 35 points
6. Ball State — 29 points
7. Lindenwood — 19 points
8. Quincy — 8 points
MIVA Preseason Awards
MIVA Preseason Player of the Year: Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
2020 Preseason All-MIVA Team
Setter: Ryan Serrano, McKendree
Setter: Garrett Zolg, Loyola
Opposite: Jake Hanes, Ohio State
Opposite: Zach Schnittker, McKendree
Outside attacker: Kyle Bugee, Lewis
Outside attacker: Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Outside attacker: Matt Szews, Ball State
Outside attacker: Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
Middle attacker: Wyatt Dimke, McKendree
Middle attacker: Tyler Mitchem, Lewis
Middle attacker: TJ Murray, Lewis
Middle attacker: Sam Schindler, Lindenwood
Libero: Noam Hannoun, Quincy