Jonathan Bates | Associate Editor
While the full 2021 Big West men’s volleyball schedule has not been finalized yet, we do know who the conference coaches believe will win the conference this year. No. 2/1 Hawai’i picked up all six first-place votes in the 2021 preseason coaches poll released today.
Also unsurprisingly, No. 3/3 UC Santa Barbara receive all six second-place votes.
What was uncertain was where the coaches would place No. 5/7 Long Beach State, No. 8/8 UC Irvine, and No. 9/10 UC San Diego. UC Irvine landed third in the poll with 21 points, while UC San Diego landed fourth with 18 points.
Given their ranking in both the AVCA coaches poll and the Off the Block media poll, it was a surprise to see Long Beach State at No. 5 in the preseason coaches poll. The Beach lost their starting setter from last year, Carlos Rivera, and only have one setter on their roster – Aiden Knipe, son of coach Alan Knipe. Also, Long Beach has not practiced yet this offseason.
Not only do five of the six Big West teams currently ranked in the top ten in both national polls, the Big West welcomes back eight players named to first and second All-American teams in 2020. Additionally, 11 of the 21 players named to the 2021 Off the Block Preseason All-American Team were from the Big West.
The season will start in ten days when Hawai’i visits UC Irvine for a pair of non-conferences matches, while the season will conclude in Manoa when the Rainbow Warriors host the conference tournament on April 22-24.
2021 Big West Preseason Coaches Poll
|2||UC Santa Barbara||24||14-2|
|4||UC San Diego||18||14-5|
|5||Long Beach State||15||10-1|