CHAMPAIGN — Coming off a strong performance at the Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational, the Illinois volleyball team moved into the AVCA coaches’ Top 25 poll Monday for the first time since last October.
The Illini, who went 2-1 last weekend in their season-opening tournament in California and defeated two ranked teams, are No. 18 in the first regular season poll. In the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll, Illinois had the fourth-most points among unranked teams receiving votes.
The Illini moved up after sweeping then-No. 18 Florida State on Friday and knocking off then-No. 17 Kentucky on Saturday in a five-set battle.
Illinois was last ranked during the week of Oct. 15-21, 2012, at No. 25.
Led by No. 1 Penn State, the Illini are among eight Big Ten teams in the current Top 25. Others include No. 4 Minnesota, No. 7 Michigan, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 20 Michigan State, No. 22 Purdue and No. 23 Ohio State.
Fellow conference member Wisconsin also received votes on at least two ballots.