LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Springfield will begin its title defense as the top-ranked team in the country, according to the AVCA Preseason Top 15 Coaches Poll, which was released on Tuesday.

AVCA COACHES' POLL
Check out the full rankings.

Springfield received 14 out of a possible 16 first-place votes as it totaled 236 points in the preseason poll. National runner-up Carthage ranked second with one first-place vote and 203 total points, followed by Juniata, which earned the other first-place vote en route to 189 points. UC Santa Cruz and Stevens rounded out the top five.

This season, Springfield's schedule is filled with teams ranked in the preseason poll. Highlighting the schedule includes Springfield's home opener on Feb. 1 against third-ranked Juniata in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic. The Pride is also scheduled to take on fifth-ranked Stevens as well as No. 7 Rivier, No. 8 NYU, No. 9 MIT, No. 10 Medaille, No. 11 Vassar, No. 12 Kean, No. 13 Baruch and No. 14 Hunter.

Springfield will also square off against Emmanuel, SUNY New Paltz and Elms, all of which are among teams receiving votes in the national poll.

The Pride returns all seven starters from a team that went 33-5 last season and captured the inaugural national championship.