ROSEMONT, Ill. - Defending NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State was chosen as the conference favorite for the 2014 volleyball season as voted on by the Big Ten coaches, it was announced on Thursday. After claiming their sixth national title last season, the Nittany Lions top the preseason poll for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.
Nebraska, which finished second in the Big Ten last season, was picked to finish second in 2014. After appearing in the NCAA championship match last season, Wisconsin was selected third this season, while Illinois was picked fourth in the voting. Purdue rounded out the top five in the preseason poll.
Additionally, conference coaches selected a Preseason All-Big Ten Team, which features six unanimous selections and five returning members. Illinois' Jocelynn Birks, Michigan State's Kori Moster, Nebraska's Kadie Rolfzen, Penn State's Micha Hancock, Purdue's Val Nichol and Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini were all unanimous selections. Birks and Hancock earned preseason recognition for the second year in a row. Illinois' Liz McMahon is a three-time preseason All-Big Ten honoree, while Michigan's Lexi Dannemiller and Penn State's Megan Courtney appear on the list for the second consecutive year.
The preseason poll and All-Big Ten Team can be found below.
2014 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
1. Penn State
6. Michigan State
9. Ohio State
2014 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL TEAM*
JOCELYNN BIRKS (2), Illinois, Jr., Outside Hitter, Willow Springs, Ill.
Liz McMahon (3), Illinois, Sr., Opposite Side Hitter, Liberty Township, Ohio
Lexi Dannemiller (2), Michigan, Sr., Setter, West Chester, Ohio
KORI MOSTER, Michigan State, Sr., Libero, Cincinnati, Ohio
Adrianna Nora, Minnesota, Sr., Middle Blocker/Opposite Side Hitter, Stillwater, Minn.
Hannah Tapp, Minnesota, So., Middle Blocker, Stewartville, Minn.
Mary Pollmiller, Nebraska, Sr., Setter, Littleton, Colo.
KADIE ROLFZEN, Nebraska, So., Outside Hitter, Papillion, Neb.
Megan Courtney (2), Penn State, Jr., Setter/Outside Hitter, Dayton, Ohio
Nia Grant, Penn State, Sr., Outside Hitter, Warren, Ohio
MICHA HANCOCK (2), Penn State, Sr., Setter, Edmond, Okla.
KiKi Jones, Purdue, Sr., Middle Blocker, Fishers, Ind.
VAL NICHOL, Purdue, Sr., Setter/Outside Hitter, Normal, Ill.
LAUREN CARLINI, Wisconsin, So., Setter, Aurora, Ill.
Ellen Chapman, Wisconsin, Sr., Outside Hitter, Glenview, Ill.
*Additional honoree due to tie
UNANIMOUS SELECTIONS IN CAPS
(2) Two-time selection
(3) Three-time selection