Defending national champion Juniata is the clear top-ranked team in the AVCA’s 2023 preseason poll. The Eagles, who went 34-1 en route to clinching the national title a year ago, return nearly their entire roster after closing out the 2022 campaign with 27 consecutive victories.
Following Juniata, which garnered 81 of 86 first-place votes in the AVCA preseason poll, are No. 2 Trinity (Texas), No. 3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, No. 4 NYU and No. 5 Northwestern. Trinity was last year’s national runner-up.
Rounding out the top 10 in the preseason poll were No. 6 Hope, No. 7 Calvin, No. 8 Transylvania, No. 9 Johns Hopkins and No. 10 MIT. CMS (3) and Hope (2) combined to account for the remaining five first-place votes.
Other Region VIII/IX teams in the preseason poll: No. 12 Wisconsin-Whitewater; No. 14 Washington-St. Louis; No. 15 Wisconsin-Oshkosh; No. 16 Wisconsin-Stevens Point; No. 17 Gustavus Adolphus; No. 25 Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Region VIII/IX teams receiving votes in the preseason: Coe; Chicago; North Park; Cornell; Millikin; Bethel; Wisconsin-Platteville; Augsburg.
As in the recent past (and another year in the future), I will not be doing my own top 10 until after the first week of the season due to the unknowns regarding players exercising their extra year of eligibility. However, I think the top five teams heading into the year are Juniata, CMS, Hope, Northwestern and Johns Hopkins in some order.