BYU men's volleyball vs UC Irvine 5

BYU sophomore middle blocker Felipe de Brito Ferreira (16) goes up for an attack against UC Irvine in the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo on March 8, 2019.

BYU men’s volleyball was voted the No. 3 team in the nation in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II Men’s Preseason Poll, which was released on Thursday.

Coming off an injury-riddled season that resulted in a 13-12 overall record and a 6-6 record in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play, the Cougars return their most experienced roster in BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead’s tenure after losing only one senior to graduation.

Returning all six starters and an experienced libero from the 2019 season, AVCA All-American Gabi Garcia Fernandez and 2019 MPSF Freshman of the Year Davide Gardini headline the core group of returners. The Cougars welcomed four newcomers during the offseason, including two players returning from two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The 2019 NCAA Tournament runner-up Hawaii was voted the No. 1 team in the preseason poll after receiving 14 of 16 first-place votes. Following the Warriors is MPSF foe UCLA at No. 2. BYU will face 10 of the top-15 teams currently ranked in the preseason poll.

The Cougars open the 2020 season on the road during the first week of January, traveling to Illinois to face No. 6 Lewis and No. 11 Loyola-Chicago.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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