The defending EIVA champions are once again projected to win another conference title in 2014.
Penn State received all but one first-place vote as it finished atop the EIVA preseason coaches poll that was released Wednesday morning.
The Nittany Lions won their 15th consecutive EIVA championship under coach Mark Pavlik last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. In addition, a majority of starters return for Penn State, including the 2013 Co-EIVA Player of the Year and All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell.
Penn State also ended last season 13-1 in conference play with its one loss being the first time the Nittany Lions had dropped a EIVA match since 2008.
Princeton was the only other school to receive a first-place vote as it finished the preseason poll in second place and 11 points behind Penn State. The Tigers return six starters from last year’s team that qualified for the four-team EIVA Tournament.
Along with Penn State and Princeton, Harvard, George Mason and St. Francis round-out the top five in the preseason poll.
The EIVA regular season will start in January and conclude with the EIVA Tournament in April. The winner of the EIVA Tournament will earn an automatic berth to the newly reformatted six-team NCAA Tournament.
EIVA Preseason Poll
1. Penn State — 9 (7) points
2. Princeton — 20 (1) points
3. Harvard — 23 points
4. George Mason — 32 points
5. St. Francis — 38 points
6. NJIT — 50 points
7. Sacred Heart — 52 points
8. Rutgers-Newark — 64 points