Lewis is the clear preseason favorite to repeat as MIVA champions.
The Flyers received all but two first-place votes as they finished atop the MIVA Preseason Poll that was released Wednesday.
The defending MIVA champions Lewis was in first place in the conference and ranked No. 5 in both the national coaches poll and national media poll at the time the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus. Among the starters returning for the Flyers include All-American outside attacker Ryan Coenen and All-American middle attacker Tyler Mitchem.
Coenen also was named on Wednesday the MIVA Preseason Player of the Year. The 2020 MIVA Player of the Year and Karch Kiraly Award finalist finished last season in the nation’s top 15 with a 4.00 kills per game average on a career-best .300 attack percentage.
Loyola, Ball State, Purdue Fort Wayne and McKendree were all within eight points of each other and finished in the top five of the preseason poll.
The Ramblers received 43 points — 19 fewer points than their in-state rival Flyers — to finish in second place.
Ball State was the only other team to receive first-place votes and ended the poll third place with 40 points. In addition, Purdue Fort Wayne and McKendree round-out the top five of the conference poll.
The MIVA season is slated to begin in February and will conclude with the MIVA Tournament in April. The winner of the conference tournament will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
2021 MIVA Preseason Poll
1. Lewis — 62 (6) points
2. Loyola — 43 points
3. Ball State — 40 (2) points
4.Purdue Fort Wayne — 38 points
5. McKendree — 35 points
6. Lindenwood — 32 points
7. Ohio State — 30 points
8. Quincy — 8 points
MIVA Preseason Awards
MIVA Preseason Player of the Year
Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Preseason All-MIVA Team
Setter: Kevin Kauling, Lewis
Setter: Garrett Zolg, Loyola
Outside attacker: Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Outside attacker: Kaleb Jenness, Ball State
Outside attacker: Martin Lallemand, Ohio State
Outside attacker: Diego Negron, Lindenwood
Outside attacker: ColeSchlothauer, Loyola
Outside attacker: Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
Middle attacker: Wyatt Dimke, McKendree
Middle attacker: Tyler Mitchem, Lewis
Middle attacker: TJ Murrary, Lewis
Libero: Noam Hannoun, Quincy