The AVCA released its final Coaches Poll on Monday and the National Champion Huskers came in as a unanimous No. 1, the first time all season the Huskers topped the poll.
Nebraska (32-4) began the NCAA Tournament both as the No. 5 seed in the field and as the No. 5 team in the country but took down two of the teams ahead of them (No. 1 Penn State and No. 3 Florida) in the NCAA Championship in Kansas City.
Nebraska opened the season at No. 5 in the preseason poll. The Huskers fell to No. 12 after losing their first two matches against a pair of top-20 teams in Oregon and Florida without senior setter Kelly Hunter. Nebraska got back up to No. 10 but fell to a season-low No. 14 after losing to Northern Iowa in Omaha in week three.
Nebraska rose as high as No. 4 before a loss at Wisconsin (which proved to be their final defeat of the season) pushed them back down to No. 7. From there, Nebraska worked its way up to No. 6 and No. 5 heading into the tournament.
Florida (30-2) finished at No. 2 after losing to the huskers in the National Championship, and Penn State (33-2) came in at No. 3 after the Huskers beat the Nittany Lions in the semifinals.
Michigan State (24-9) came in at No. 8, Minnesota (28-6) at No. 10 and Wisconsin (22-10) at No. 12. A strong run in the NCAA Tournament took Illinois (23-11) under former Nebraska assistant coach Chris Tamas from unranked to No. 17 while Purdue (23-10) rounded out the Big Ten in the top 25.
The final poll includes seven teams from the Big Ten, six from the Pac-12, three each from the SEC and Big 12 and six from other leagues.
Nebraska finished the season with 11 wins against teams in the final poll. The Huskers will lose five seniors including four key players from this year’s championship squad but return four starters and bring in one of the best recruiting classes in the country.
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.