UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State heads into the 2012 season ranked No. 3 in the AVCA Top 25 Poll, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced Monday. The Nittany Lions are one of two Big Ten teams to crack the top five, with Nebraska coming in at No. 4.

UCLA, the defending NCAA champion, took the top spot with 54 of the 60 possible first place votes, while Texas is ranked No. 2 and was one of four other teams to receive first place votes. Following Nebraska to round out the top five is USC.

AVCA POLL
Check out the full rankings.

Penn State will face 11 teams listed in the 2012 AVCA poll, including eight teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation. The squad opens the season in Louisville, Ky., where it will face Louisville and Western Kentucky, both of which received votes in the preseason poll. The Nittany Lions will then face Texas (No. 2) and Stanford (No. 6) to open their home slate. Penn State opens Big Ten play on Sept. 19 at home against No. 4 Nebraska.

Head coach Russ Rose, in his 34th season at the helm of the Penn State women’s volleyball program, returns six players with starting experience from the 2011 team, including AVCA First Team All-American Deja McClendon, AVCA Second Team All-American Katie Slay and AVCA Third Team All-American Ariel Scott.