OMAHA, Neb. — The Creighton Volleyball program is ranked No. 9 in the preseason Top 25 poll released Wednesday afternoon by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. It’s the fourth time in five seasons that the Bluejays have earned a spot in the preseason poll, and ties the program’s best mark for any week in history.
The poll is led by Texas, and also features defending national champion Stanford, Washington, Minnesota and Nebraska in the top-five. The Longhorns earned 25 first-place votes, but earned more overall points than the No. 2 Cardinal who picked up 35 votes for first.
For the fifth straight fall, Creighton’s non-conference schedule features four or more teams that are ranked in the preseason poll, including No. 3 Washington, No. 8 Kansas, No. 14 Kentucky and No. 25 Purdue. The Jays also play four regular-season matches against teams receiving votes, including USC, Iowa State, Pitt and Wichita State. CU also play an Aug. 18 exhibition at a Kansas State team that is receiving votes.
Creighton has spent 20 previous weeks in the top-25 of the rankings during the course of the past five seasons, with four such weeks in 2012, six weeks as a ranked squad in 2013 and one week each in both 2014 and 2015. Last year’s team was ranked eight different weeks. Before today, the previous best preseason ranking for the Bluejays had been No. 18, done last year. Creighton’s best ranking in history was the No. 9 mark in the 2016 year-end poll, which was matched today.
Last year’s Bluejay squad advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, defeating Northern Iowa, No. 4 Kansas and No. 17 Michigan before falling to No. 5 Texas. Top returnees from last year’s team that finished 29-7 overall include preseason all-BIG EAST selections Lydia Dimke, Taryn Kloth, Jaali Winters and Brittany Witt. Dimke was named Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year, and along with Kloth and Winters were honored as AVCA All-Americans last fall.
Being ranked in the preseason poll is no guarantee of future success, however. In the last nine seasons, only 161-of-225 teams (71.6 percent) would be in both the preseason and postseason AVCA Top 25 polls. In that same time frame, all but 22 teams named in the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll would go on to reach the NCAA Tournament (90.2 percent).
Creighton is also ranked eighth nationally in the PrepVolleyball.com preseason poll that was released on Wednesday.
The Bluejays opened their fall practice schedule on Tuesday morning, host the annual Blue-White Scrimmage on Friday at 5 pm, and opens the regular-season on Aug. 15 with a match against Saint Mary’s at the Husky Invitational in Seattle, Wash.