With the start of July, we are about six months out from the start of the 2019 Men’s DI-II Volleyball season. That will be the opportunity for Long Beach State to defend their National Championship after downing UCLA in 2018. We should see plenty of those two teams along with their two leagues competing once again. With that being said, it’s time for VolleyMob’s Way-Too-Early 2018 Preseason Top 25.
Since these rankings are early and we don’t necessarily have the full picture in terms of recruiting and transfers still to come, most of this is based on experience and starters returning. As we move closer to the winter, we will update our rankings as needed. Until then, we will release five teams at a time this week, leading to the culmination of #1-5 on Thursday. Next up are teams ranked #11-15.
- #16-20 (Monday)
- #11-15 (Below)
- #6-10 (Wednesday)
- #1-5 (Thursday)
- Full List + Honorable Mentions (Friday)
11. CSUN MATADORS
- 2018 Finish/Rank: Big West Semifinals, #10 in final VM Top 20
- 2018 Record: 16-11 (5-5, 4th Big West)
- Starters That Can Return for 2018: 4 + Libero
- Key Returners: MB Eric Chance (2018 Big West First-Team), OH Dimitar Kalchev (2018 Big West First-Team), OH Maciej Ptaszynski (2018 Big West Freshman Team)
- Key Losses: RS Arvis Greene (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), MB Josiah Byers (2018 Big West HM)
- Bottom Line: CSUN brings back a majority of its roster, but they’ll have the challenge of finding a replacement for Arvis Greene, who carried the team in stretches. Maybe the Matadors can do it by committee with as much as they return besides that, but they’ll be counting on internal growth.
12. USC TROJANS
- 2018 Finish/Rank: MPSF Semifinals, RV in final VM Top 20
- 2018 Record: 8-20 (3-9, T-6th MPSF)
- Starters That Can Return for 2018: 5 + Libero
- Key Returners: OH Jack Wyett (2018 AVCA All-America HM), OH Gianluca Grasso (2018 MPSF HM), RS Ryan Moss (2018 MPSF HM), MB Sam Lewis (2018 MPSF Freshman Team), L Cole Paxson (2018 MPSF Freshman Team)
- Key Losses: None with award recognition
- Bottom Line: Similar to Stanford, USC did not have quite the season they envisioned. However, their youth allows them to bring back a majority of their team and almost all of their starters. They showed what the future could hold late in the year with an upset of Pepperdine in the MPSF Tournament, which they will hope is a springboard to 2019.
13. FORT WAYNE MASTODONS
- 2018 Finish/Rank: MIVA Quarterfinals, #13 in final VM Top 20
- 2018 Record: 18-11 (6-8, T-5th MIVA)
- Starters That Can Return for 2018: 6 + Libero
- Key Returners: OH Pelegrin Vargas (2018 AVCA All-America HM), S Michael Keegan (2018 MIVA Second-Team), MB Tomas Gago (2018 MIVA Second-Team)
- Key Losses: None with award recognition
- Bottom Line: Fort Wayne exploded on the scene in 2018, but 2019 should be even better. That combination comes with Ohio State and Loyola Chicago losing important players and the Mastodons potentially bringing back all of their starters. They should be a dark horse to compete for the MIVA crown.
14. STANFORD CARDINAL
- 2018 Finish/Rank: MPSF Quarterfinals, UR in final VM Top 20
- 2018 Record: 6-20 (3-9, T-6th MPSF)
- Starters That Can Return for 2018: 5
- Key Returners: RS Jaylen Jasper (2018 AVCA All-America HM), MB Kyler Presho (2018 MPSF HM)
- Key Losses: L Evan Enriques (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), MB Kevin Rakestraw (2018 MPSF Second-Team)
- Bottom Line: 2018 did not go at all how the Cardinal wanted as they were hit with a rash of injuries and had plenty of youth beyond that. They do lose two players who kept the team competitive in Enriques and Rakestraw, but bring back five starters and a wealth of depth from those returning from injury and other young-guns.
15. CONCORDIA IRVINE EAGLES
- 2018 Finish/Rank: MPSF Semifinals, #14 in final VM Top 20
- 2018 Record: 16-15 (5-7, 4th MPSF)
- Starters That Can Return for 2018: 4
- Key Returners: MB Hunter Howell (2018 AVCA All-America HM), S Chandler Gibb (2018 MPSF Second-Team), OH Raymond Barsemian (2018 MPSF Second-Team)
- Key Losses: L Jacob Weiser (2018 MPSF Second-Team)
- Bottom Line: The Eagles do sustain some losses, notably Weiser, but of the four they return, three were on some sort of all-league or national award list. That is led by Howell, who should push Concordia Irvine to yet another strong season in 2019.