Stanford second in the nation in preseason volleyball poll


The Stanford women's volleyball team begins the season ranked No. 2 nationally, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association, which announced its annual preseason poll Wednesday.

Stanford, which received 35 first-place votes, returns four starters plus its libero from last year's NCAA championship team.

The Cardinal has been ranked in every AVCA preseason poll since its inception in 1982 and is one of two teams, with Penn State, to appear in all 36 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournaments.

Stanford returns a total of 11 letterwinners, including AVCA National Freshman of the Year Kathryn Plummer and three-time All-American Merete Lutz.

Sophomores Audriana Fitzmorris (AVCA), Jenna Gray ( and Morgan Hentz ( were all honorable mention All-Americans last season.

Texas earned the top spot in the poll, collecting 25 first-place votes. Rounding out the top 5 are Washington, Minnesota and Nebraska. Overall, six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 25.

Joining Stanford and Washington are No. 13 UCLA, No. 18 Oregon, No. 23 Utah and No. 24 Arizona. USC and Washington State are receiving votes.

The Cardinal (27-7 last year) has 11 regular-season matches against top-25 teams on its schedule.

Stanford opens at the Long Beach State tournament beginning Aug. 25 and then travels to College Station for a meeting with No. 6 Penn State. The two teams meet again a week late in Illinois.

The Pac-12 and Big Ten have a combined 14 teams ranked in the preseason poll, with USC and Washington State receiving votes.

— Stanford Athletics

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