Five Big Ten Squads Ranked in Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll
Aug. 9, 2006
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Five Big Ten volleyball teams have been selected to the CSTV/AVCA Top 25 Preseason Coaches Poll, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced August 8. Penn State, which garnered 17 first-place votes, leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 2, followed by No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 16 Purdue, No. 22 Minnesota and No. 23 Ohio State. Northwestern will enter 2006 ranked outside the top 25, but is receiving votes from the panel of coaches. The Big Ten's five teams are second only to the Pac-10, which placed six teams in the poll.
Penn State, the three-time defending conference champion, finished 31-3 (20-0, 1st Big Ten) last season and fifth in the final national poll. The Nittany Lions advanced to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals in 2005 and have five starters and 12 letterwinners returning this season.
Wisconsin claims its highest-ranking in the CSTV/AVCA Top 25 poll since the Badgers were selected 10th in last year's preseason poll. After a 26-7 (15-5, 2nd) season in 2005, Wisconsin returns four starters and its libero, while welcoming back a total of 12 letterwinners.
Despite a fifth-place finish in the conference last season, Purdue is coming off one of its best outputs in school history. The Boilermakers posted a record of 25-9 (12-8) and hit the 25-win mark for the first time since 1985 and advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals for the first time since 1987. Purdue returns five starters and its libero for their 2006 campaign.
Minnesota finished 25-8 (14-6, T-3rd) last year after completing its season in the NCAA second round. The Golden Gophers, who finished 21st in the final poll of 2005, return five starters, but are faced with replacing four-time All-Big Ten standout and three-time All-American Paula Gentil.
Ohio State, which enters this year with the same ranking as it ended the 2005 season with, returns six starters and its libero to a squad that posted a 22-9 overall mark a year ago and tied for third in the Big Ten at 14-6.
Northwestern, coming off the program's first 20-win season since 1988 and its first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament, enters the 2006 season receiving votes in the coaches' poll. The Wildcats finished last year with a 20-12 overall record, marking the first 20-win campaign in program history since 1988. NU returns five starters to a squad that placed sixth in the conference last season at 10-10.
The 2006 season kicks off on August 25-26 with the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase in Madison, Wis. Three of the top-10 preseason teams, No. 3 Washington, No. 8 Texas and the ninth-ranked Badgers will be joined by No. 15 Ohio University at this year's event.
The complete 2006 CSTV/AVCA Top 25 Preseason Coaches Poll can be downloaded from the link above.