The Nebraska volleyball team will enter the 2012 season ranked fourth in the AVCA Coaches Poll, which was released Monday afternoon. The Huskers (1,281 points) were one of four Big Ten teams to earn a spot in the top 10, joining No. 3 Penn State, No. 7 Illinois and No. 9 Purdue. The Huskers welcome back All-Americans Gina Mancuso, Lauren Cook, Morgan Broekhuis and Hannah Werth. During the 2011 season, Nebraska finished with a 25-5 record, captured its first Big Ten title in its first season in the league and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the 30th time.
The rest of the preseason top 10 was rounded out by No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Texas, No. 5 USC, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 Hawaii and No. 10 Iowa State. Along with the four teams in the top ten, three other Big Ten teams secured a spot in the top-25, including No. 16 Minnesota, No. 23 Michigan and No. 24 Ohio State.
Nebraska and Stanford have been the two most consistent teams in the AVCA’s 431 all-time polls, as each has been ranked in every poll dating back to 1982. Nebraska’s 82 weeks in the No. 1 spot is still tops on the list, while Penn State sits second at 68 weeks. When it comes to being ranked in the top-10, the Huskers lead Stanford 394-381.
During the non-conference season, the Huskers are set to meet two top-ten teams. Nebraska will face defending National Champion UCLA at the NU Coliseum on Saturday, Aug. 25, before ending their non-conference schedule with No. 10 Iowa State on Saturday, Sept. 15 in Ames, Iowa. Nebraska will play its first Big Ten Conference match on Wednesday, Sept. 19, against No. 3 Penn State in University Park, Pa.