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Volleyball AVCA Preseason Poll

Huskers are 5th and Creighton is 18th

Scott Bruhn

This poll is a best guess by some of the college coaches. The AVCA says those coaches are part of each of the conferences represented in the poll and are spread through different regions of the country. Ultimately, this poll means very little until the end of the year when it can make a case for or against a seed in the NCAA tournament.

The preseason volleyball poll ranks Nebraska as the fifth best team in the nation alongside University of Pittsburgh. Pitt was 31-4 last season. They were a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament where they beat Colgate, BYU, Florida and Wisconsin before losing to Louisville in the semifinals. The Panthers return most of their stars from 2022 roster. They lost Serena Grey as she was graduate transfer but replaced her with Bre Kelley from Florida.

Texas, Wisconsin and Stanford all received first place votes. The Texas roster is very different from the 2022 national championship roster but does have key returners. Madi Skinner returns as their top outside hitter after the graduation of National Player of the Year Logan Eggleston. Molly Phillips returns as the the right side player for Texas and Asjia O’Neal in the middle. Texas added 6’1’’ outside hitter Jenna Wenaas from the transfer portal. She played two seasons at Minnesota.

Wisconsin lost Danielle Hart from the 2022 season but returns all other impact players. They also added 6’2’’ outside hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara from Northwestern and 6’7’’ Carter Booth in the middle from Minnesota. Both of these transfers were first team Big Ten last season and Thomas-Ailara added second team All American to her award bag. They will both make big impacts.

The Stanford volleyball roster is unchanged from last season in terms of impact players. They return Kendall Kipp on the outside. She is the 2022 PAC 12 Player of the Year and First Team All American. They also return setter Kami Miner, middle Sami Francis and outside hitter Caitie Baird.

Louisville still led by former Husker player and Coach Dani Busboom Kelly. She returns to the 2023 season after being swept by Texas in the championship match. They return outside hitter Anna DeBeer and right side Aiko Jones but lost Claire Chaussee as the other excellent outside hitter. They added CC McGraw to the coach staff. As a former Minnesota libero she will bring intensity and a focus on defense.

Nebraska has a much different roster than last season. Six players moved on after the 2022 season: Madi Kubik, Kenzie Knuckles, Kaitlyn Hord, Whitney Lauenstein, Nicklin Hames and Anni Evans. New faces on the roster include the five freshmen: Harper Murray, Bergen Reilly, Laney Choboy, Caroline Jurevicius and Andi Jackson. 6’4’’ junior Merritt Beason transferred from University of Florida to play right side for Nebraska. Most recently, Jordan Larson joined the coaching staff.

There are many moving pieces to the potential starting line up for the Huskers but none more important the setting position. There are two setters on the roster with a world of potential but both have yet to prove their impact on the college game. Junior Kennedi Orr and freshmen Bergen Reilly will both work to earn time on the court.

Coach Cook has a plethora of outside hitters from which to rotate. Ally Batenhorst and Lindsay Krause are both juniors and have experience on the Husker court. Hayden Kubik had big moments in 2022 but is yet to carry a passing or consistent attack load. Harper Murray was the top freshman coming out of high school last year. She has demonstrated her quick arm swing through the spring season.

The coaching staff is observing these players strengths and keeping stats on the critical skills. They will pick starters based on these criteria but best predications are that the outside hitter position will be open to changes well into the 2023 season.

1. Texas
2. Wisconsin
3. Stanford
4. Louisville
5-T. Nebraska
5-T. Pittsburgh
7. Minnesota
8. Penn State
9. Oregon
10. Kentucky
11. Florida
12. Marquette
13. San Diego
14. Ohio State
15. Baylor
16. Purdue
17. BYU
18. Creighton
19. Houston
20. Georgia Tech
21. Washington State
22. Southern California
23. Rice
24. Western Kentucky
25. Arkansas

There are six Big Ten teams on this list and four of them are in the top 10. Illinois received votes but did not make the top 25. The first time Nebraska faces a team on this list is versus Creighton on September 6th.

You can watch Nebraska this weekend, August 19th, in their red-white scrimmage on B1G+ at 6 pm. You can listen on the Husker Radio Network. GBR!