A little of this and a little of that as the NCAA season approaches. The first matches are next Friday, August 25.
AVCA POLL — The NCAA Division I coaches have Nebraska at No. 1 and Texas at No. 2. Most everyone agrees that those are the top two teams.
After that, we will just have to agree to disagree. We don’t do a poll and don’t get any votes, but …
Four teams got first-place votes, 24 for Nebraska, 27 for Texas, 12 for last year’s NCAA champion Wisconsin, and one for No. 4 Louisville. Minnesota took the fifth spot.
The next five have Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Washington, Georgia Tech and BYU.
This is a year where transfers will again make a huge impact, especially after a season in which so many of the top teams lost their respective top players.
Click here for the complete AVCA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll. The first regular-season poll is scheduled for August 29, so that will include the results of what will be a very busy first weekend.
CONFERENCE UPDATES — The ACC told us its preseason coaches poll and all-league team are coming next week. In the aforementioned AVCA poll, the ACC has No. 4 Louisville, No. 6 Pittsburgh, No. 9 Georgia Tech, and Miami, North Carolina and Florida State got votes. Georgia Tech lost star Mariana Brambilla, but its other Brazilian, Julia Bergmann, had a great summer playing for her national team. Put the powerful 6-foot-5 Bergmann, a senior who might hit the hardest ball in the NCAA, on the short list of national player-of-the-year candidates. She was a VolleyballMag.com first-team All-American …
Nothing yet from the traditionally powerful American Athletic, but the very safe guess is that another outside hitter, graduate student McKenna Melville of UCF, will be that conference’s preseason player of the year. The VolleyballMag.com second-team All-American is only 6-1, but led the nation in kills last season with 617. Utah’s Dani Drews was next at 581 …
The Big East’s Creighton, at No 18, is the league’s only ranked team. Marquette got votes. We featured Creighton earlier this month …
The Missouri Valley coaches tabbed Illinois State to win again. The Redbirds got five first-place votes, No. 2 Evansville got two, third-place UIC got three, Bradley was picked to finish fourth but got no votes, and fifth-place UNI and seventh-place Missouri State got a vote each …
If the preseason poll is any indication, the Sun Belt should be a fun league to watch again this year. The coaches picked Coastal Carolina and newcomer James Madison to win the East Division and South Alabama just ahead of Texas State to win the West. James Madison comes from the CAA and we featured the Dukes last month. The Sun Belt has a nice feature on Texas State setter Emily DeWalt, the pick for setter of the year. Her teammate, Janell Fitzgerald, is the preseason player of the year …
High Point’s Dylan Maberry is the Big South preseason player of the year/High Point photo
The Big South coaches picked High Point to win the league again. High Point has been the preseason choice seven years in a row and the Panthers got all nine votes. Coach Ryan Meek’s team went 15-1 in the league last year but lost in five to Campbell in the Big South tourney final. Campbell lost to Nebraska in the NCAA Tournament. The preseason player of the year is High Point’s Dylan Maberry, who was a VBM honorable-mention All-American after transferring from LSU …
In the Ohio Valley Conference, the coaches picked Morehead State, a team whose coach, Dr. Jaime Gordon, is also the school’s athletic director. Morehead State got nine of the first-place votes. Southeast Missouri got seven, UT Martin got two, and Tennessee Tech got two. The preseason team had 14 players from seven schools. Southeast Missouri beat Morehead in the OVC tourney final and lost to Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament