Penn State tabbed 2017 Big Ten volleyball favorite

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State tabbed 2017 Big Ten volleyball favorite

Penn State was chosen as the conference favorite for the 2017 volleyball season as voted on by the Big Ten coaches, it was announced on Tuesday. Following a 24-10 season in 2016, the Nittany Lions begin their 2017 campaign ranked No. 6 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

NCAA semifinalist and defending Big Ten Champion Nebraska was picked to finish second, while Minnesota was tabbed third. Michigan State was voted to finish fourth, while Wisconsin rounded out the top five of the preseason poll in fifth place.

Additionally, conference coaches selected a Preseason All-Big Ten Team featuring a pair of unanimous selections and four previous preseason honorees. Minnesota’s Samantha Seliger-Swenson and Nebraska’s Mikaela Foecke were both unanimous selections. Seliger-Swenson receives Preseason All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season, while Foecke claims the recognition for the first time. Penn State’s Ali Frantti and Haleigh Washington earned the honor for the third consecutive year, while Illinois’ Jordyn Poulter received the recognition for the second time in her career.

Of the 15 members on the Preseason All-Big Ten Team, seven were American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americans in 2016 with Minnesota’s Seliger-Swenson, and Penn State’s Simone Lee and Washington earning first-team honors. Michigan State’s Alyssa Garvelink and Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter claimed second-team accolades and Wisconsin’s Molly Haggerty and Tionna Williams received third-team recognition. In addition, Illinois’ Poulter, Minnesota’s Alexis Hart and Molly Lohman, and Nebraska’s Mikaela Foecke were honorable mention AVCA All-America honorees.

The preseason honorees include a pair of the conference’s individual award winners from last season: Seliger-Swenson, the Big Ten Setter of the Year, and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Haggerty. Eight members of last year’s All-Big Ten Team, three honorable mention All-Big Ten honorees and two All-Freshman team recipients are represented on the 2017 Preseason All-Big Ten Team.

In addition, Washington was tabbed an Academic All-America honoree for the second time and was joined by Ali Bastianelli, Poulter, Garvelink, Seliger-Swenson, Foecke and Hunter on the Academic All-Big Ten team.

The preseason poll and All-Big Ten Team can be found below.

2017 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL TEAM*
Ali Bastianelli, ILL
Jordyn Poulter, ILL
Claire Kieffer-Wright, MICH
Alyssa Garvelink, MSU
Alexis Hart, MINN
Molly Lohman, MINN
SAMANTHA SELIGER-SWENSON, MINN
MIKAELA FOECKE, NEB
Kelly Hunter, NEB
Ali Frantti, PSU
Simone Lee, PSU
Haleigh Washington, PSU
Danielle Cuttino, PUR
Molly Haggerty, WIS
Tionna Williams, WIS

*Additional honorees due to ties | UNANIMOUS SELECTIONS IN CAPS

2017 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
1. Penn State
2. Nebraska
3. Minnesota
4. Michigan State
5. Wisconsin
6. Purdue
7. Michigan
8. Ohio State
9. Illinois
10. Iowa
11. Maryland
12. Northwestern
13. Indiana
14. Rutgers

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