Jan. 6, 2010

 

Courtesy of Southern California Athletics

The USC men's volleyball team is ranked No. 1 in the 2010 pre-season AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Poll.

It's the first time since 1991 that the Trojans enter a season ranked first nationally. The last time USC was ranked No. 1 in any AVCA poll was late in the 2000 season (April 25).

The top ranking comes on the heels of USC being picked to win the 2010 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title in a poll earlier this month by the MPSF coaches.

The Trojans picked up 237 points and 13 first-place votes to top the 2010 pre-season AVCA poll.

Defending NCAA champion UC Irvine placed second in the AVCA national poll, some 19 points out of first. The Anteaters got the remaining 3 first-place votes.

The rest of the AVCA pre-season Top 15, in order: Stanford, Pepperdine and Penn State round out the first 5, followed by BYU, Long Beach State, UCLA, Cal State Northridge and Ohio State in the Top 10, then Ball State, Hawaii, UC San Diego and both Lewis and UC Santa Barbara tied at 14th.

USC went 21-11 last year and tied for fifth in the MPSF regular season, but then won its first-ever conference tournament championship and finished second at the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans return their entire roster in 2010 except the libero and a pair of reserves. Top players include All-Americans Murphy Troy and Tony Ciarelli and NCAA All-Tournament selections Austin Zahn and Riley McKibbin.

The Trojans open their 2010 season on Jan. 7-9 at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational in Honolulu, Hi., facing Penn State, Ohio State and Hawaii, before beginning MPSF play at UCLA on Jan. 13.