Pepperdine may have missed the NCAA Tournament last season, but it beat out the defending NCAA champions Loyola for the top spot in the preseason national coaches poll.
The Waves received 10 of 18 first-place votes to finish six points ahead of the Ramblers to secure the No. 1 ranking in the AVCA preseason coaches poll released Wednesday afternoon.
Pepperdine finished last season with a share of the MPSF regular season championship but narrowly missed an at-large bid to the six-team NCAA Tournament after losing in its conference tournament. The team also returns a majority of starters for the upcoming season, including two Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. First-Team Preseason All-Americans with setter Matt West and outside attacker Josh Taylor.
Loyola after winning its first NCAA championship in program history last season received the remaining eight first-place votes to finish at No. 2 in the coaches poll.
This is the highest preseason ranking for Loyola in the poll’s history. In addition, the Ramblers were one of two teams in the nation to have three players earn Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-Americans honors.
Penn State, UC Santa Barbara and UCLA round-out the top five in the preseason coaches poll.
The MPSF led all conferences with 10 teams making the top 15 preseason poll. The MIVA had four of its nine teams earn a spot in the coaches poll, while Penn State was the only EIVA school make the top 15.
The NCAA men’s volleyball season begins in January and will conclude with the six-team NCAA Tournament in May at Stanford.
AVCA PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Pepperdine — 262 (10) points
2. Loyola — 256 (8) points
3. Penn State — 216 points
4. UC Santa Barbara — 180 points
5. UCLA — 173 points
6. BYU — 166 points
7. USC — 142 points
8. UC Irvine — 134 points
9. Lewis — 128 points
T-10. Hawai’i — 119 points
T-10. Stanford — 119 points
12. Long Beach State — 80 points
13. Cal State Northridge — 70 points
14. Ohio State — 47 points
15. IPFW — 34 points
Others receiving votes: Ball State 20, Princeton 8, Erskine 2