Penn State is the preseason favorite to pick-up right where it left off from last season.
The Nittany Lions received all but one first-place vote to finish atop the EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Monday.
This No. 1 EIVA preseason ranking comes after Penn State was in first place and undefeated in conference play at the time the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Four All-EIVA selections return to the Nittany Lions’ starting lineup, including the 2020 Co-EIVA Player of the Year outside attacker Brett Wildman.
NJIT was the only school to receive a first-place vote to prevent Penn State from being the unanimous favorite.
The Highlanders were five points behind the Nittany Lions. In addition, NJIT edged out George Mason by two points for second place in the preseason poll.
Saint Francis, Charleston and Sacred Heart round out the bottom half of the six-team poll.
The EIVA will be reduced to from eight to six teams for the upcoming season. Princeton and Harvard both have opted not to participate in the 2021 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The conference regular season will begin in February and conclude with the six-team conference tournament in April. The winner of the EIVA Tournament will receive the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
2021 EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Penn State — 34 (5) points
2. NJIT — 29 (1) points
3. George Mason — 27 points
4. Saint Francis — points not released
5. Charleston — points not released
6. Sacred Heart — points not released
Players to watch
(Selected by the head coaches of each team)
Charleston: Maarten Bartels, Ismael Sneed
George Mason: Hayden Wagner, Jack Reese
NJIT: Alvaro Gimeno, Luca Berger
Penn State: Brett Wildman, Cal Fisher
Saint Francis: Michael Fisher, Blake Liprando
Sacred Heart: Tim McIntosh, Shawn Tishler