The UC Santa Barbara men’s volleyball team was picked to finish second in the Big West in 2020 as the annual preseason coaches poll was announced on Thursday afternoon. 

American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason No. 1 Hawai’i received all six first-place votes and 36 total votes to claim the top spot in the Big West poll, while UCSB received 28 votes. Back-to-back defending national champion Long Beach State was picked to finish third with 23 votes after losing a handful of key players, while UC Irvine was projected to finish fourth with 19 votes. CSUN (13 votes) and UC San Diego (seven votes) round out the six teams in the poll. 

Following an 18-10 campaign in 2019 that saw the Gauchos ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation, UCSB brings back the bulk of its lineup and is poised for a successful 2020 season. Despite graduating All-Americans Corey Chavers and Hayden Boehle, Santa Barbara returns six pivotal rotation players from a year ago, headlined by AVCA Newcomer of the Year and Big West Freshman of the Year, Ryan Wilcox. Wilcox and middle blocker Brandon Hicks were both named to the conference’s All-Freshman Team last season. UCSB also returns its dynamic setting duo of Randy DeWeese and Casey McGarry, along with key offensive pieces in Keenan Sanders and Spencer Fredrick. 

UCSB opens the season hosting its annual Asics Invitational, with its first match against Concordia Irvine on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 3:00 p.m. in Rob Gym.