Nebraska volleyball will open the season in the top 5 when it begins regular season play later this month.
The Huskers landed at No. 5 in Monday’s preseason poll from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Nebraska went 16-3 last season, falling to Texas in the Regional Semifinal round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Longhorns––and not last season’s champion, Kentucky––topped the preseason poll, receiving 32 first-place votes. Texas fell 3-1 to the Wildcats in the NCAA Championship, the first national title in women’s volleyball for an SEC school.
Wisconsin was second with 15 first-place votes, followed by Kentucky (17 first-place votes) at No. 3 and Washington at No. 4.
The Big Ten landed six teams in the top 12 of the preseason poll. Outside of Wisconsin and Nebraska, Minnesota was ranked seventh, Purdue eighth, Ohio State 11th and Penn State 12th. Michigan and Illinois were among the teams also receiving votes.
Nebraska plays Wisconsin, Purdue, Penn State and Illinois twice in 2021.
In addition to the conference teams it will face, Nebraska’s schedule features a handful of teams in and just outside of the rankings in nonconference play. The Huskers will face No. 19 Utah, No. 21 Stanford on the road and No. 13 Louisville in consecutive matches between Sept. 11 and 18. Nebraska will also play two teams just outside of the top 25 in Kansas State (Aug. 28) and Creighton (Sept. 8).
Nebraska has appeared in every AVCA poll since it began in 1983 (571 weeks ranked), an honor it used to share with Stanford before the Cardinal dropped out of the rankings for the final eight weeks last season. The Huskers’ also led the country with 100 weeks ranked at No. 1, five clear of Penn State, and 516 total rankings in the top-10, 16 ahead of Stanford.
Nebraska begins its season Saturday, Aug. 21, with its annual Red-White scrimmage.
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.