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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The defending NCAA national champion Penn State women's volleyball enters the 2014 season with the No. 1 overall ranking according to the AVCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll, announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association today. Featuring more teams represented in the poll than any other conference in the country, the Nittany Lions are among seven Big Ten teams ranked within the top 25 and one of four conference squads within the top 10.
Earning 32 of a possible 60 first-place votes, Penn State claimed the top spot ahead of No. 2 Texas (11), No. 3 Stanford (7), No. 4 Washington and No. 5 USC (2). The Big Ten is also well represented in the bottom half of the top 10 rankings with Wisconsin, Nebraska and Purdue in spots six through eight, consecutively. BYU and Florida rounded out the last two spots at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.
Penn State will square off against a total of 11 teams featured in the 2014 AVCA preseason poll, including nine teams ranked within the top 25 and two receiving votes. First up, the Nittany Lions meet third-ranked Stanford in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge Friday, Sept. 5, before taking on UCLA the next evening. The Bruins received 23 votes. PSU also meets No.22 Kansas and No. 24 American in non-conference action at the Villanova Classic, Sept. 12-13 at Villanova.
The Nittany Lions also have matchups against No. 11 Illinois, No. 12 Minnesota and No. 16 Michigan State. Michigan caps off the group of Big Ten teams represented in the preseason rankings, receiving 23 votes.
Entering his 36th season at the helm of the program, five-time AVCA DI National Coach of the Year Russ Rose returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from the 2013 squad, as well as a highly talented class of eight newcomers. Two-time first team AVCA All-American Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) and AVCA All-America honorable mention Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) highlight the class of top returners along with starters Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) and Dominique Gonzalez (San Antonio, Texas).
Penn State opens the 2014 campaign at home in Rec Hall Aug. 29-30, hosting Big 12 opponent TCU, Iona and William & Mary in the Penn State Classic.
Both single-match and season tickets for the 2014 Penn State women's volleyball season are now on sale and available for purchase by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office in the Bryce Jordan Center during normal business hours. Season tickets are priced at $84.00 for adults and $56.00 for youth ages 12 and under.
To view the complete AVCA DI Preseason Coaches' Poll, please click here.