Reigning National Champion Long Beach State Tabbed No. 1 In AVCA Preseason Poll
Men's Volleyball AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll
The Big West Conference had three representatives in the top four of the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll Thursday, led by a No. 1 ranking from reigning men's volleyball national champion Long Beach State.
The Beach was a unanimous selection for the top spot, earning all 16 first-place votes for 240 points. They finished the 2018 season with a 28-1 overall record and became the Big West's 18th national championship team. Five All-Americans return from that squad, including AVCA first-teamers TJ DeFALCO, KYLE ENSING and JOSH TUANIGA, as well as NICK AMADO and SIMON ANDERSON.
Hawai‘i earned a No. 3 ranking in the preseason poll following a successful 19-8 campaign in 2018. The 'Bows bring back AVCA First Team All-American STIJN van TILBURG and a trio of three other All-Americans in JOE WORSLEY, RADO PARAPUNOV and PATRICK GASMAN.
UC Irvine was tabbed No. 4 after concluding 2018 at 21-10 overall and the program's seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Anteaters are also stacked as four returnees captured All-American accolades last year, including second team recipients KARL APFELBACH and SCOTT STADICK, joined by third-teamers AARON KOUBI and JOEL SCHNEIDMILLER.
In all, 13 of the 16 Big West players who claimed AVCA All-American honors in 2018 are set to return to the court this season.
The Big West had five schools in the top 11 of the poll as UC Santa Barbara (No. 10) and CSUN (No. 11) also were represented.
The 2019 season begins on Jan. 3 and concludes with the NCAA Tournament on May 2 and 4, which will be held at LBSU's Walter Pyramid. Prior to that, the second annual Big West Tournament (April 18-20) will be contested at Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.