For the second consecutive year, the IPFW men's volleyball team is projected to end the upcoming season in the bottom half of the conference standings.
IPFW received 28 votes to finish in sixth place in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Preseason Coaches Poll released Tuesday morning.
The Mastodons last season were also picked in the preseason poll to finish in sixth place but ended the year tied for fourth place and lost in the conference tournament quarterfinals. In addition, IPFW returns a majority of starters from last season -- including outside attacker Eddie Rivera, who was named to the Preseason All-MIVA Team on Tuesday.
Rivera as a sophomore last season was in the nation's top 50 with both a 2.70 kills per game average and a .230 attack percentage. The outside attacker also earned Second-Team All-MIVA honors last season.
The defending MIVA champions Lewis finished in first place in the conference's preseason poll, receiving six of the eight first-place votes. Lewis last season advanced to its first Final Four since 2004 and has two Preseason All-American returning for the upcoming year.
Loyola and Ohio State received the other first-place votes in the MIVA poll. The Ramblers finished the preseason poll in second place with 54 points -- eight points behind the first-place Flyers -- while the Buckeyes ended in third place with 52 points.
Ball State, the only other Indiana school in the MIVA, received one more vote than IPFW to finish the preseason poll in fifth place with 29 votes.
IPFW will open its 2013 season with a non-conference match against St. Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Gates Center.
MIVA Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Lewis — 62 (6) points
2. Loyola — 54 (1) points
3. Ohio State — 52 (1) points
4. Grand Canyon — 35 points
5. Ball State — 29 points
6. IPFW — 28 points
7. Lindenwood — 20 points
8. Quincy — 8 points
*Parentheses indicates first-place votes
MIVA Preseason All-Conference Team
Dainis Berzins, Loyola
BJ Boldog, Lewis
Michael Henchy, Ohio State
Peter Jasaitis, Loyola
Matt Leske, Ball State
Jay Petty, Lewis
Ben Ponnet, Grand Canyon
Geoff Powell, Lewis
Eddie Rivera, IPFW
Joe Smalzer, Loyola