Contenders poised to unseat favorite Nebraska
It should not come as a surprise when Nebraska volleyball is ranked No. 1 in the preseason by anyone who takes the time to publish a poll.The defending national champions have been at the top of the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason top 25 each of the past two seasons and have been ranked No. 1 in 31 of the last 32 polls.
Could this be the year coach Mary Wise and the Gators finally win a volleyball championship?
Any program that wins four consecutive Big Ten titles is a serious threat to win the national championship. And the Nittany Lions will have four All-Americans among the six starters and 11 letter winners returning from the team that posted a 32-3 record and advanced to the regional final last season.
The Cardinal will be motivated after falling to Nebraska in last year's championship match. Stanford took Game 1, but couldn't prevent the Huskers from winning the final three games. With six starters returning, the Cardinal are a logical selection to earn their record 17th Final Four appearance.
Texas is in a unique position: It may be easier for the Horns to win a national championship than a conference championship. While not conceding a 12th consecutive Big 12 title to Nebraska, the Longhorns would reluctantly admit the odds of outplaying the 2007 Huskers are better in a single postseason match than over the course of the conference schedule.
It's no exaggeration to claim that this summer the Women of Troy proved to the world they are title contenders. Competing against national teams from Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland, the Trojans took second place in the 32nd Savaria Cup in Hungary. That tied the tournament record for the best finish by a non-national team.