Southern California Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For the second consecutive season, the University of Southern California debuts as the No. 1 team in the nation, after the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 Preseason Poll was released by the AVCA headquarters on Wednesday.

The Trojans will look to bounce back after a first round loss in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) tournament a year ago. However, being just two years removed from a national championship runner-up finish, the squad has the experience to once again return to prominence. USC welcomes back 13 letterwinners in 2011, including their senior co-captains, 6-foot-8 opposite Murphy Troy and 6-foot-2 setter Riley McKibbin.

UC Irvine holds down the second spot in the poll after sporting a 15-15 overall record a year ago and an eighth-place finish in the MPSF. The Anteaters are tied with USC atop the 2011 MPSF Men’s Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll and return AVCA All-Americans Carson Clark, Jordan DuFault and Kevin Wynne, as well as middle blocker Austin D’Amore.

Pepperdine, who finished the 2010 campaign tied for fifth with Penn State with a 16-10 overall record, is seated third in the inaugural poll of 2011, nabbing one first-place vote in the process. AVCA All-Americans Kasey Crider and Cory Riecks return to the lineup for their senior seasons, as well as Tyler Jaynes, who ranked fourth in the nation with a 1.52 blocks per set average.

Fresh off a national championship, Stanford is placed fourth in the poll and looks for a repeat as they return 13 lettermen and four starters, including outside hitter and MPSF Player of the year Brad Lawson. Stanford enters the season on two substantial winning streaks. The Cardinal have won six consecutive matches and 14 consecutive sets. The last time Stanford lost a set was in the first round of the MPSF tournament when UC Irvine won the second set in a four-set loss.

Rounding off the top-five of the poll is BYU after a 22-9 overall record and an appearance in the 2010 MPSF semifinals. AVCA All-American blocker Futi Tavana returns, along with All-MPSF selections Robb Stowell and Russell Lavaja. Ending last season as the No. 2 team in the country, the Cougars were only one of six teams in the Top-15 to record 20-plus wins.

Hawai’i, Ohio State, Penn State, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge, Loyola-Chicago, Lewis and Ball State top off the inaugural AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 Poll.

AVCA Division I-II Poll
Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous
Others receiving votes: UC San Diego 5.
1 Southern California (10) 232 16-11 7
2 UC Irvine (5) 225 15-15 8
3 Pepperdine (1) 200 16-10 T-5
4 Stanford 194 24-6 1
5 BYU 177 22-9 2
6 Hawai'i 162 19-10 4
7 Ohio State 136 22-8 10
8 Penn State 128 24-8 T-5
9 UCLA 118 16-13 9
10 UC Santa Barbara 102 13-16 11
11 Long Beach State 78 12-17 12
12 Cal State Northridge 62 23-10 3
13 Loyola-Chicago 45 20-6 13
14 Lewis 30 19-10 NR
15 Ball State 23 19-11 14