The 2014 Big Ten Volleyball preseason poll was released Thursday morning and the Illini checked in at #4. Here is the poll in its entirety:
2014 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
1. Penn State
6. Michigan State
9. Ohio State
In addition to the poll, preseason All-Big Ten selections were also released. Junior outside hitter Jocelynn Birks (2nd selection) and senior opposite-side hitter Liz McMahon (conference-leading 3rd selection) represent the Illini on the list of 15 players.
As usual, the Big Ten will be the premier conference in Women's Volleyball. The American Volleyball Coach's Association recently released their preseason poll and it featured 7 Big Ten teams in the top-25. The group is headlined by reigning NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State while Wisconsin (#6), Nebraska (#7), Purdue (#8), Illinois (#11), Minnesota (#12), and Michigan State (#16) are featured as well.
The Illini will look to improve on their 2013 season in which they reached the Sweet Sixteen with an overall record of 18-15. They came in at #16 in the final AVCA poll.
Illinois opens their season with the Illini Classic on Aug 29/30 as they take on Long Beach State, SIU, and #20 North Carolina.