The Northeastern boys' volleyball program is entering a brave new world this season.
Coach Matt Wilson's Bobcats, however, will start the season in an old familiar spot.
Namely, Northeastern is again ranked among the very best teams in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Bobcats are slotted at No. 2 in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 3-A preseason poll. This marks Northeastern's first season in the 3-A division after winning the last six PIAA 2-A championships.
The No. 1 team in 3-A is North Allegheny from District 7, which is the defending 3-A state champion. Five of the top-six teams (and six of the top-eight teams) in the 3-A poll are from District 3.
Northeastern is joined in the 3-A preseason top 10 by York-Adams League rival Central York, which is ranked No. 6. The Panthers won the 2017 3-A state crown and advanced to the 2018 PIAA semifinals before falling to North Allegheny, 3-2.
In 2-A, York Suburban is ranked No. 10 in the preseason state poll.
The complete 3-A preseason top 10 (with the team's district in parenthesis) includes: 1. North Allegheny (7); 2. Northeastern (3); 3. Hempfield (3); 4. Exeter (3); 5. Cumberland Valley (3); 6. Central York (3); 7. Whitehall (11); 8. Warwick (3); 9. State College (6); 10. Bethel Park (7).
The complete 2-A top includes: 1. Derry (7); 2. Ambridge (7); 3. Meadville (10); 4. Holy Redeemer (2); 5. Lower Dauphin (3); 6. Saegertown (10); 7. Manheim Central (3); 8. Maplewood (10); 9. Seton LaSalle (7); 10. York Suburban (3).
Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.