Earning 32 of a possible 60 first-place votes, Penn State claimed the top spot ahead of No. 2 Texas (11), No. 3 Stanford (7), No. 4 Washington and No. 5 USC (2). The Big Ten is also well represented in the bottom half of the top 10 rankings with Wisconsin, Nebraska and Purdue earning spots six through eight, consecutively. BYU and Florida round out the last two positions at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.
Penn State squares off against a total of 11 teams featured in the 2014 AVCA preseason poll this season, including nine teams ranked within the top 25 and two receiving votes. First up, the Nittany Lions meet third-ranked Stanford in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge Friday, Sept. 5 in Palo Alto, Calif., before taking on UCLA the next evening. The Bruins received 23 votes. PSU also meets No. 22 Kansas and No. 24 American in the Villanova Classic, Sept. 12-13 at Villanova.
The Nittany Lions also have conference matchups against No. 11 Illinois, No. 12 Minnesota and No. 16 Michigan State. Michigan caps off the group of Big Ten teams represented in the preseason rankings, receiving 23 votes.
Entering his 36th season at the helm of the program, five-time AVCA DI National Coach of the Year Russ Rose returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from the 2013 squad, as well as a highly talented class of eight newcomers. Two-time first team AVCA All-American Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) and AVCA All-America honorable mention Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) highlight the class of top returners along with starters Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) and Dominique Gonzalez (San Antonio, Texas).
Penn State opens the 2014 campaign at home in Rec Hall Aug. 29-30, hosting Big 12 opponent TCU, Iona and William & Mary in the Penn State Classic.
-PSU Athletic Communications
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