The Penn State women's volleyball team is No. 1 — again.
Coming off consecutive NCAA national championships, PSU will enter the 2015 season with its second consecutive No. 1 overall ranking, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll, announced by the organization on Wednesday afternoon. The Nittany Lions received 54 of a possible 60 first-place votes in the poll.
Penn State is among six Big Ten schools to be ranked within the AVCA Top 25 and one of four conference programs to be voted within the top 10. Tied at No. 5, Nebraska and Wisconsin join the Nittany Lions in the top five, while Illinois rounds out the top 10 at No. 8. Ohio State is slated No. 14, while Michigan State is slotted No. 19. Purdue, Minnesota and Michigan also represent the league in the poll, as all three are receiving votes.
In addition to six matches against Big Ten opponents ranked within the top 25, PSU will also host No. 2 Stanford and No. 24 Colorado at home in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge Sept. 4-5 in Rec Hall.
Since 2007, the Nittany Lions have ranked within the top three of every AVCA preseason poll, having also been voted No. 1 a total of six times (2008-11, 2014-15).
Set to begin his 37th season at the helm of the program, Hall of Fame head coach Russ Rose returns four starters and 12 letterwinners to the court, in addition to four newcomers. NCAA Championship MVP Megan Courtney and second-team AVCA All-American Aiyana Whitney highlight the senior class. Second-team AVCA All-American Ali Frantti and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Haleigh Washington round out the group of returning starters.
The Nittany Lions kick off the 2015 season at home, hosting the Penn State Classic Friday, Aug. 28 through Saturday, Aug. 29. Penn State opens the tournament by taking on Buffalo on Friday evening at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.