All the preseason talk surrounding a team usually can be summed up in one or two sentences — and that’s what we did.
With the NCAA men’s volleyball season beginning today, check out the quick-hit breakdown of every team in the nation as they enter the 2015 season.
Pepperdine – This team has put last year’s controversy of missing the NCAA Tournament behind them. All-American setter Matt West and All-American outside attacker Josh Taylor will make sure the Waves aren’t left out of the NCAA Tournament this season.
UC Santa Barbara – The Gauchos have become the New England Patriots of college men’s volleyball: grinds-out victories with defense, maximizes the talent on its roster and its head coach wears the same clothing item for every match. If its outside attackers can develop throughout the season, UC Santa Barbara will be in the hunt for a MPSF title.
USC – Two of the only things missing from All-American setter Micah Christenson’s college resume is a National Player of the Year award and a national championship. Everything is in place for him to get both of those this year.
UCLA – With a youthful roster this summer, coach John Speraw led the United States to its first FIVB World League title since 2008. Give Speraw a UCLA roster with 14 of the 17 players freshmen and sophomores and just watch this team improve throughout the season.
UC Irvine – Similar to last year, expect for coach David Kniffin to use multiple starting lineup combinations at the beginning of the year. However, they will find the right combination by the end of the season and in time to make a deep postseason run.
BYU – Welcome to life without All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander. The improvement of opposite Tim Dobbert will make the new reality for BYU a lot more comfortable this season.
Hawai’i – This is the most depth on the Hawai’i roster since coach Charlie Wade took over the program. There are high preseason expectations for this team to return to the postseason and for good reason.
Cal State Northridge – The Matadome has a new look and feel this season with a black playing surface. It’s perfect timing for a team that has a new feel of a playoff team after missing the postseason the last two years.
Stanford – The Cardinal will go through some rebuilding pains this season. However, having All-American setter James Shaw on the court and coach John Kosty on the sidelines won’t make it that painful or long.
Long Beach State – Coach Alan Knipe is back in the underdog role this season. Few coaches thrive better than Knipe when put in the underdog role.
Cal Baptist – Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for Cal Baptist last season. With players coming back healthy, things should be better for the Lancers in 2015.
UC San Diego – This will be one of the youngest teams in the MPSF. The Tritions may not finish with a winning record, but could pull off one or two upsets towards the end of the season.
To read the rest of the team’s previews, click here.
Photo cred: NCAA Volleyball