The 2019 AVCA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll was released on Tuesday afternoon.
Predictably, Stanford is the No. 1 team in all the land. It's hard to argue against the reigning champion. Especially one that has very little roster turnover heading into the season. Stanford received 62 of 64 first-place votes.
As for the remaining 24 spots? Well, that's where things get interesting. Check out reactions to the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll below after the official rankings.
2018 FINAL RANK
|8||Penn State (1)||1,182||26-8||6|
No. 1 Stanford Cardinal: Stanford was all but a lock at No. 1 after capturing its eighth national championship back in December. Five seniors (Kathryn Plummer, Jenna Gray, Morgan Hentz, Audriana Fitzmorris and Caitlin Keefe) will return for the Cardinal, who have co-owned the sport with Nebraska over the past four years. Stanford also led the nation in blocks per set last season with an average of 3.40. The Cardinal's hitting percentage of .307 was second. Only the Texas Longhorns (.310) were more efficient in that category.
Two-time player of the year, Kathryn Plummer of Stanford, headlines our countdown of the top women's volleyball players to watch for the upcoming season.#NCAAVB | @StanfordWVB pic.twitter.com/tiLb399cP3— NCAA Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) August 4, 2019
No. 2 Nebraska Huskers: They could take a step back this year, with zero seniors on the team. Nebraska lost a star outside hitter and defensive specialist/libero to graduation. The Huskers will begin this season in the same spot where they finished in 2018: second to Stanford. But more importantly, can they overcome key departures at those two positions?
No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers: Middle blocker Dana Rettke finished second in the country last season with a hitting percentage of .423. That alone is impressive. But Rettke also tallied the second-most attacks in 2018 with 848 — and she accomplished all of that as a sophomore. Unfortunately for the other members of the Big Ten, she still has two more years to perfect her game.
No. 6 Illinois Fighting Illini: Staying in the Midwest, the well-rounded Illini should challenge for conference supremacy. Last season, Illinois finished top 20 in the nation when it came to aces per set (1.64), assists per set (13.39), kills per set (14.17), and hitting percentage (.281).
No. 9 BYU Cougars: The Cougars held their opponents to a nation-low .143 hitting percentage in 2018. BYU also ranked fifth in blocks per set with 2.91. Defensively, they were led by freshman stalwart Heather Gneiting. She averaged a team-high 1.50 blocks per set, and was second on the team with 326.0 points. It's Gneiting's club now, with do-it-all outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry lost to graduation. She is currently on the U.S. National Team.
No. 20 Baylor Bears: Outside hitter Yossiana Pressley led the Bears in total kills (517) and and kills per set (4.70) as a sophomore last season. She's an aggressive presence on the floor, averaging the ninth-most attacks per set in 2018 with 12.42. Baylor will also counter with middle blocker Shelly Stafford. She finished 12th in the nation with a hitting efficiency of .397.