The Nebraska volleyball team is ranked No. 2 in the AVCA preseason poll, which was released Tuesday, about 2½ weeks before the first match of the season.

This marks the sixth consecutive season that Nebraska has been ranked in the top 10 to start the season.

The Huskers also ended last season ranked No. 2, after finishing as the national runner-up with a 29-7 record.

Stanford is ranked No. 1. The Cardinal beat Nebraska in the national championship match last season.

Stanford was the obvious No. 1. The Cardinal returns eight of the nine players who played in the national championship match, including three first-team All-Americans (outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, setter Jenna Gray and libero Morgan Hentz). Stanford had a 34-1 record last season.

Stanford received 62 of the 64 first-place votes in the poll. Nebraska and Penn State each received one first-place vote. Nebraska and Stanford will play in Lincoln during Week 4 of the season.

The Huskers return five starters from last year's team, including first-team All-America middle blocker Lauren Stivrins.

Half of the top 10 teams in the preseason poll are from the Big Ten Conference with No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Minnesota, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 6 Illinois and No. 8 Penn State. Two more Big Ten teams are in the top 20, with Michigan No. 15 and Purdue No. 17.

Minnesota won the Big Ten last season with a 19-1 record, but dropped in the AVCA poll after losing in the NCAA Sweet 16. Other than All-America setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson, the Gophers return most of the starting lineup.

Creighton is ranked No. 18, and is the team Nebraska will open the season against on Aug. 30. Louisville, led by former Husker Dani Busboom Kelly, is No. 25.

AVCA poll

1. Stanford

2. Nebraska

3. Minnesota

4. Texas

5. Wisconsin

6. Illinois

7. Kentucky

8. Penn State

9. BYU

10. Florida

11. Oregon

12. Pittsburgh

13. Washington

14. Southern California

15. Michigan

16. Marquette

17. Purdue

18. Creighton

19. Tennessee

20. Baylor

21. San Diego

22. Washington State

23. Cal Poly

24. Arizona

25. Louisville

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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