(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah – BYU men's volleyball has been selected as the preseason 2017 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation favorite. The poll, released Monday, is voted on by the conference's head coaches.
BYU collected 119 points and nine first-place votes to finish at the top of the poll for the second-straight year. The Cougars return five starters plus its libero from last season’s MPSF Championship and NCAA runner-up team, including All-Americans Ben Patch, Brenden Sander and Jake Langlois. Setting those pin hitters is All-American Leo Durkin. All-Conference Price Jarman continues as a starting middle blocker from last year’s squad which ended as the No. 1 blocking team in the nation.
UCLA finished second in the poll, totaling 111 points and the remaining three first-place votes. The Bruins return six starters from last year’s NCAA Semifinal team. Taking third was Long Beach State with 103 points. The 49ers also reached the 2016 NCAA Semifinals, and welcome back three All-Americans. UC Irvine is projected to make the MPSF’s largest leap after an injury-plagued season, taking fourth in the poll with 79 points. Pepperdine was fifth with 73 points, and Hawaii completed the top-half of the poll with 63 points.
Completing the top-eight, Stanford (61) and UC Santa Barbara (58) are also picked to reach the postseason. CSUN (53), USC (36), Cal Baptist (24) and UC San Diego (12) round out this year’s MPSF Coaches’ Poll.
Each MPSF team has 18 conference matches on its schedule this year, which includes two contests against seven opponents, and one match against the remaining four. The 2017 MPSF Championship Tournament begins with the top-four seeds hosting quarterfinal action on April 15. The conference semifinals are on April 20, on the home floor of the best remaining seed. That evening’s winners will battle on April 22 for the MPSF Championship, contested at the semifinal site, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line (May 4-6 at Ohio State).