After making a run to the NCAA Sweet 16, the Illini moved up two spots to No. 16 in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 poll. The last national rankings of the season were announced Monday.
Illinois, which won nine of its final 12 matches to finish with an 18-15 record, earned a spot in the season-ending poll for the fifth time in six years.
Overall, the Illini have been ranked in the final AVCA Top 25 a total of 16 times since 1985.
Illinois was among seven Big Ten teams to be ranked in the last poll, with conference members Penn State and Wisconsin claiming the top two spots, respectively, after advancing to the NCAA title match. The Nittany Lions defeated the Badgers in four sets on Saturday night at Seattle to capture their sixth national championship.
Other Big Ten teams in the final poll were No. 7 Nebraska, No. 8 Purdue, No. 10 Minnesota and No. 14 Michigan State. An eighth Big Ten member, Michigan, was among the non-ranked teams to receive votes on at least two ballots.
The degree of difficulty in the schedule Illinois played this season was further apparent in the season-ending poll. The Illini faced 14 of the teams in the final Top 25 a total of 19 times, going 6-13 in those matches.
Illinois also ranked 16th in the NCAA’s final Rating Percentage Index. Seventy-five percent of the RPI’s calculation is based on strength of schedule.