For the first time in program history, the Illinois volleyball team is ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Poll, released Monday. The Illini, who were No. 3 last week, received 55 of the 60 first-place votes after opening Big Ten play with a pair of wins to move to 13-0 on the season. No. 7 Nebraska, No. 9 Penn State, No. 10 Minnesota, No. 12 Purdue, No. 17 Michigan and No. 22 Ohio State also made the poll. Get more on the latest volleyball news every Monday on “The Women’s Sports Report.” Watch our interview with Illinois’ Colleen Ward now.
With eleven Big Ten teams earning preseason recognition in the first AVCA coaches’ poll, it’s going to be another competitive season. The Big Ten’s eight top-25 teams is the most for any conference in the country. Defending NCAA Champion Penn State earned the preseason #1 ranking, followed by Nebraska at #5, Illinois at #8, Minnesota at #12, Purdue at #13, Ohio State at #21 and Michigan at #24. Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin each also received votes in the preseason poll. Watch now as Kara Lentz takes a look at each Big Ten team heading into the 2011 volleyball season.