Texas middle blocker Morgan Johnson celebrates a score against Baylor on Nov. 9, 2016 at Gregory Gym. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Volleyball

Texas on top: Longhorns to open the volleyball season as nation’s No. 1 team

Posted August 9th, 2017

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A silver medalist in each of the past two seasons, Texas finds itself alone in front as it begins this fall’s search for gold.

On Wednesday, Texas was ranked first in the AVCA’s preseason volleyball poll. Texas received 25 of the poll’s 64 first-place votes, and the Longhorns’ 1547 points edged Stanford’s score of 1,533. Stanford, which beat Texas for last season’s NCAA championship, received 35 first-place votes.

Washington, Minnesota and Nebraska rounded out the polls’ top five.

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2017 AVCA preseason poll

 TeamPoints (1st-place votes)2016 Final Rank
1Texas1,547 (25)2
2Stanford1,533 (35)1
3Washington1,370 (2)7
4Minnesota1,349 (2)3
5Nebraska1,3134
6Penn State1,24910
7Wisconsin1,1455
8Kansas1,08512
9Creighton1,0079
10BYU9758
11North Carolina93911
12Florida92515
13UCLA8666
14Kentucky65423
15Florida State64113
16Michigan61514
17Michigan State52319
18Oregon49821
19Missouri42416
20Hawai'i34317
21Ohio State33218
22San Diego28722
23Utah20325
24Arizona17420
25Purdue147N/R

This marks the 12th straight season that Texas has ranked among the top four teams in the AVCA preseason poll, and UT topped the 2013 preseason rankings. Texas retains much of the talent that led it to last year’s NCAA championship match, and the Longhorns just signed the nation’s top recruiting class. Three-time All-American Chiaka Ogbogu is back after missing the 2016 season, and outside hitters Micaya White and Ebony Nwanebu have also earned AVCA All-American accolades in their careers.

“On paper, we should win and be a real good team,” Nwanebu said earlier this week. “But you never know what’s going to happen. That’s another motivation, to prove to everyone on that on paper, we’re good, but in real life, we’re better.”

Texas opens its 2017 season on Aug. 25 with a trip to the Florida-hosted VERT Challenge where No. 12 Florida and No. 18 Oregon await. Minnesota, No. 8 Kansas and No. 22 San Diego are also on UT’s schedule.

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