Defending national champion Texas has earned the top spot on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Poll. The Longhorns check in at No. 1 for the first time in preseason history while a member of the Big 12 Conference with 55 first-place votes.
Overall, five teams are either in the top 25 or receiving votes with Iowa State earning a No. 15 spot and Kansas appearing in the preseason rankings for the first time while a member of the league, checking in at No. 20. Kansas State and Oklahoma are receiving votes.
Big 12 volleyball teams have totaled 50 preseason top 25 selections since 1996 and have had at least three teams make an appearance each year.
Texas, which compiled a 29-4 mark in 2012 en route to its second national championship in program history, has been ranked second nationally to open the season in three of the past four years (2009, ’11, ’12). UT has earned a preseason ranking in the top 10 each year since 2006. The No. 1 ranking by the Longhorns to open 2013 marks the fifth time a Big 12 team has opened a season with the top spot in the national rankings.
The Cyclones ended 2012 with the No. 14 rank in the country. This is the sixth consecutive year that Iowa State finds a spot in the top 25 with all six appearances being among the top 18.
KU, which closed out 2012 with the No. 25 ranking, recorded its highest preseason ranking in Big 12 history, checking in at third in the Conference’s preseason coaches’ poll. Last year, Kansas recorded its highest winning percentage for a season in program history (.788) while Ray Bechard claimed the Big 12 Coach of the Year honor.
Oklahoma and Kansas State joined Iowa State, Kansas and Texas in the NCAA Volleyball Championship field a year ago.
The 2013 Big 12 volleyball campaign begins on Friday, Aug.30, while league play opens on Wednesday, Sept. 25.