Aug. 13, 2012
The University of Minnesota volleyball program is ranked 16th in the preseason poll, announced today, by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Defending national champions, UCLA, took the top spot and 54 first-place votes, while Texas and Penn State round out the top three.
Minnesota is one of seven Big Ten institutions ranked this preseason. Penn State, Nebraska (4), NCAA runner-up Illinois (7) and Purdue (9) rank ahead of the Golden Gophers, while Michigan (23) and Ohio State (24) finish the top 25. Michigan State is receiving votes. The seven ranked teams marks the most by a single conference.
Along with facing six ranked conference opponents, Minnesota will compete against four non-conference teams who are ranked or receiving votes this season. The Gophers visit the No. 2 Longhorns, Sept, 6-7 (Thurs-Fri) in Austin, Texas. Minnesota will then compete against No. 22 Kansas State, Dayton (receiving votes) and Tulsa (receiving votes) Sept 14-15 at the Hurricane Invite in Tulsa, Okla.
Minnesota finished the 2011 season with a Sweet 16 appearance, a 20-12 record and a season-ending 15th-place ranking. The Gophers open the season August 25th when it travels to Harrisonburg, Va., to face James Madison and Appalachian State. Minnesota opens the home season on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 when it hosts Miami (OH), Long Island and Albany in the Diet Coke Classic.
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