Illini volleyball 12th in preseason poll

Illini volleyball 12th in preseason poll

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois finished the 2017 season ranked among the top 25 teams in the country after a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament. It was the Illini's only week ranked among the nation's elite teams.

That mark has already been matched just more than two weeks before the 2018 season opener. Illinois checked in at No. 12 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll released Wednesday after a 23-11 in Chris Tamas' first season as coach.

Six other Big Ten teams were among the preseason top 25. Defending national champion Nebraska was ranked the highest at No. 2 behind former Illinois coach Kevin Hambly's Stanford Cardinal, while No. 4 Minnesota, No. 6 Penn State, No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 22 Michigan State and No. 23 Purdue rounding out the Big Ten's top teams.

Illinois' 2018 schedule will include four matches against preseason top 25 teams. The Illini will play No. 25 Colorado State on Aug. 24 in Fort Collins, Colo., face No. 15 Colorado (Aug. 31) and No. 17 Washington (Sept. 1) in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Seattle, take on No. 13 Creighton on Sept. 15 in the Illini Classic at Huff Hall.