Harvard was ranked sixth in the EIVA preseason poll released this week. (Gil Talbot)
The Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association released its 2012 preseason rankings and the Harvard Crimson ranked No. 6 out of eight teams in the conference. Penn State took the top spot in the poll receiving seven first-place votes while George Mason was ranked second with one first-place tally.
The Crimson returns 11 players from last year's roster including the team's leading offensive threat in senior Matt Jones. The La Jolla, Calif., native led Harvard in kills (332) and kills per set (3.95) last season, while ranking fourth in the conference in both categories.
Harvard is coming off a 9-13 season and went 1-7 in EIVA play. While last year was tough when it came to conference foes, the Crimson hopes that ending its season with a win over EIVA rival NJIT can help build confidence moving forward.
The Crimson opens its season on Jan. 24 when it travels to Beverley, Mass., to take on Endicott. Harvard will open up its conference slate on Feb. 10 at the Malkin Athletic Center against George Mason.