Long Beach edges out Hawai’i for top spot in Big West Preseason Poll

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State athletics

It was close, but Long Beach State is the preseason favorite to win the Big West championship.

Long Beach State beat second-place Hawai’i by two points to finish atop the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Thursday.

Four All-American starters return for the Beach after reaching the NCAA Tournament semifinals last season. Among those starters includes libero Mason Briggs who won the 2023 Erik Shoji Award as the nation’s top libero and spent the offseason playing with the U.S. Men’s National Team.


Hawai’i last season lost in the NCAA Tournament finals to end its attempt at becoming the first school in almost 30 years to win three consecutive NCAA championships. The Rainbow Warriors return two All-American starters from last season but will have to replace graduated setter Jakob Thelle, the 2023 National Player of the Year.

Long Beach State received three of the six first-place votes and 23 total points in the preseason poll to edge out Hawai’i.

The Rainbow Warriors garnered two first-place votes and 21 points. UC Irvine was the only other school to receive a first-place vote and finished in third place with 19 points.

The Big West season will begin in March and conclude with the six-team Big West Tournament in April. The winner of the Big West Tournament will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

2024 Big West Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Long Beach State – 23 (3) points
2. Hawai’i – 21 (2) points
3. UC Irvine – 19 (1) points
4. UC Santa Barbara – 11 points
T-5. CSUN – 8 points
T-5. UC San Diego – 8 points

Big West Preseason Coaches Team

Setter: Aidan Knipe, Long Beach State
Outside attacker: Spyros Chakas, Hawai’i
Outside attacker: Hilir Henno, UC Irvine
Outside attacker: Kyle Hobus, CSUN
Outside attacker: Sotiris Siapanis, Long Beach State
Middle attacker: Guillherme Voss, Hawai’i
Libero: Mason Briggs, Long Beach State