Deseret News
FILE: Lone Peak players celebrate a point against Pleasant Grove in the 6A volleyball state championship at the UCCU Center in Orem on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017.

The 2018 high school volleyball season officially kicks off this week, and the top contenders last year are expected to be in the hunt for state titles again this season.

All six defending state champions begin the 2018 season ranked No. 1 in the Deseret News preseason coaches rankings.

Headlining the list is defending 6A state champion Lone Peak, which returns some key contributors from last season.

“This is the most athletic and experienced team I’ve had since I took over at Lone Peak. This group took on the challenge to push themselves in the offseason and have come in ready to compete. They are determined to get better each and every day. I’m excited to watch them grow,” said Lone Peak coach Reed Carlson.

The next three teams in 6A preseason rankings are also from Region 4, Pleasant Grove, Bingham and American Fork.

Box Elder won last year’s 5A title in a five-set thriller over Bountiful, and this year it opens the season ranked No. 1 ahead of Skyridge and Bountiful.

“We are training our girls to remember it is a new season with new beginnings. We have to work hard for every point because nobody's going to give us anything. We are counting on our blocks and back row defense to carry us this season,” said Box Elder coach Kristine Harding.

In 4A Park City begins the season ranked No. 1 ahead of Sky View, the same team it beat in last year’s state championship.

Morgan was pegged as the overwhelming front runner in 3A once again this season.

In 2A, North Summit garnered nearly every first-place vote from the coaches who submitted preseason questionnaires, with Enterprise beginning the season ranked second.

“We are looking forward to another great season. We have five returning starters and have a lot of talented athletes on the court. We are working hard and are excited to get the season started,” said North Summit coach Samantha Stephens.

Panguitch rounds out the rankings as the defending 1A champs begin the season with another target on their backs.

“We are very excited about this upcoming season. We have eight returning players that were in the starting rotation for us last year. Our goal is to win a state championship in volleyball and cross country,” said Panguitch coach Troy Norris.

Class 6A

2018 team-by-team 6A previews

  1. Lone Peak (22-3)
  2. Pleasant Grove (26-5)
  3. Bingham (18-7)
  4. American Fork (16-9)
  5. Syracuse (30-3)

Class 5A

2018 team-by-team 5A previews

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  1. Box Elder (24-3)
  2. Skyridge (18-4)
  3. Corner Canyon (23-9)
  4. Bountiful (23-5)
  5. West (18-5)

Class 4A

2018 team-by-team 4A previews

  1. Park City (20-3)
  2. Sky View (24-8)
  3. Lehi (23-9)
  4. Desert Hills (20-8)
  5. Snow Canyon (17-16)

Class 3A

2018 team-by-team 3A previews

  1. Morgan (26-4)
  2. Union (20-12)
  3. San Juan (12-15)
  4. North Sanpete (23-8)
  5. Delta (18-12)

Class 2A

2018 team-by-team previews

  1. North Summit (23-10)
  2. Enterprise (24-8)
  3. Kanab (10-10)
  4. Millard (22-13)
  5. Duchesne (10-5)

Class 1A

2018 team-by-team previews

  1. Panguitch (26-2)
  2. Rich (18-4)
  3. Monticello (13-5)
  4. Tabiona (10-6)
  5. Milford (16-10)