The scheduled start for the 2020-21 spring volleyball season is less than three weeks away, and Nebraska will head into the year at the same spot in the AVCA Coaches Poll as it ended last season: at No. 5.
The Huskers finished 28-5 last season and fell to eventual runner-up Wisconsin in the regional final. The Huskers returned all six of their regular starters plus their libero and added a transfer middle blocker along with a top-30 recruiting class.
The Huskers received one first-place vote, one of five teams to do so. Wisconsin (27-7 in 2019) tops the poll with 40 first-place votes. The Badgers return most of their lineup led by All-American middle blocker Dana Rettke.
Texas went 14-0 during its abbreviated fall season and heads into the spring No. 2 in the poll, garnering 17 first-place votes. Stanford is No. 3, receiving three first-place votes, after finishing 30-4 and winning the 2019 national title. All-American outside hitter Kelsey Plummer has moved on after a dominant career with the Cardinal. No. 4 Kentucky went 8-0 in the fall and received one first-place vote.
The rest of the poll features four other Big Ten teams: Minnesota at No. 7, Penn State at No. 9, Purdue at No. 13 and Michigan at No. 24. The Huskers are scheduled to play the Badgers, Golden Gophers, Nittany Lions and Wolverines twice apiece this season, though they won’t face the Boilermakers.
The Big Ten has six teams in the preseason poll, more than any other conference. The Pac-13 is second with four teams while the SEC and ACC have three apiece.
Creighton will head into No. 15 asked 15th, though the Big Ten is not permitting nonconferences games this season so the Huskers and Bluejays will have to wait until the 2021 season to pick their rivalry back up.
The Huskers will open the season on the road at Indiana on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.