Hawai’i tops preseason national coaches poll

Photo courtesy of Fabiana Huffaker

It’s a near unanimous consensus for what is the best team entering the 2020 season.

Hawai’i received all but two first-place votes to earn the No. 1 ranking in the NVA/AVCA preseason national coaches poll that was released on Thursday.

The Rainbow Warriors return three All-American starters after winning the Big West championship and reaching the NCAA Tournament finals last season.

All-American opposite Rado Parapunov was in the nation’s top 10 with both a 4.07 kills per game average and a .420 attack percentage in 2019 en route to winning the Bryan Ivie Award. He also spent the offseason playing with the Bulgarian Men’s National Team.


All-Amrican middle attacker Patrick Gasman was second in the country last season averaging 1.42 blocks per game and was named the National Blocker of the Year. In addition, All-American libero Gage Worsley was sixth in the nation with a 2.44 digs per game average and won the 2019 Erik Shoji Award.

UCLA and the two-time defending NCAA champions Long Beach State were the only other teams to receive a first-place vote.

The Bruins were ranked No. 2 and return multiple starters after reaching the MPSF Tournament semifinals last season, including All-American middle attacker Daenan Gyimah. Long Beach State earned the No. 4 ranking as it attempts to replace four All-American starters from its championship team.

BYU at No. 3 and UC Santa Barbara at No. 5 round out the top five in the preseason poll.

The college men’s volleyball season will begin in January and conclude with the NCAA Tournament semifinals and finals in May at George Mason.

NVA/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Hawai’i — 238 (14) points
2. UCLA — 197 (1) points
3. BYU — 185 points
4. Long Beach State — 182 (1) points
5. UC Santa Barbara — 170 points
6. Lewis — 160 points
7. Stanford — 144 points
8. UC Irvine — 127 points
9. Pepperdine — 110 points
10. Princeton — 88 points
11. Loyola — 78 points
12. USC — 59 points
13. CSUN — 56 points
14. Purdue Fort Wayne — 31 points
15. Penn State — 25 points
Others receiving votes: Grand Canyon 24, George Mason 22, Concordia-Irvine 11, Ball State 8