College News

College Coverage Has Arrived

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When PrepVolleyball.com changed ownership in April, one of the visions for the future was covering the sport at the collegiate level.

We are happy to announce the time has arrived.

For those of you familiar with PrepVolleyball.com, you know and understand how we do things for the national high school and club scenes. We aim to bring the same standard to our college coverage. You can expect a lot of what we do in that regard to mirror what we do for high school and club with weekly rankings, columns and more.

It’s an exciting time for us.

If there is one complaint about prep sports it’s that sometimes the careers of the athletes we follow seem to come and go too quickly. Spending four years covering volleyball players through high school and club, it feels like we just get to know them by the time they are moving onto to their respective colleges.

Today a freshman, tomorrow it’s onto the next group of athletes.

We are hoping that changes with our expansion into the collegiate game. We are also hoping it provides some fun content down the line, like how our Senior Aces are doing in college or how do those recruiting class rankings we do actually end up panning out?

We also realize that many are still unaware of our planned coverage of the women’s game. Help spread the word by letting your friends and family know.

There are likely to be some parts that will have a work-in-progress feel moving forward, as can happen taking on covering the college game for the first time. As we continue to tweak and fine tune what we do, we see PrepVolleyball.com as a destination to follow our high school and club athletes for another four years.

Five Quick Questions for 2015

1. Penn State is the two-time defending Division 1 champion and winners of six of the past eight titles, what are the chances the streak continues in 2015?

Answer: Good. The Nittany Lions aren’t the same preseason favorite they were a year ago and the loss of NCAA Player of the Year Micha Hancock could loom large, but it’s a program that has shown it can keep the train moving from year-to-year.

2. The Pac 12 sent 10 teams to the NCAA tournament in 2014, the most ever for the conference, so what are the chances of a repeat come tournament time in 2015?

Answer: Not as good. At least that’s how it looks at the start, but things could change later in the season. There just seems to be more question marks this season, like what will UCLA look like without Karsta Lowe, how will Washington fare with Krista Vansant gone, Arizona with its kill leaders departed and USC with its roster shuffling? All could still end up making the tourney though and the conference could send 10 teams once more. We’ll see.

3. Last season, BYU was the first unseeded team to reach the championship match, so which program could make a similar charge this postseason?

Answer: Who knows. BYU’s run had a feeling like it came out of nowhere, yet the Cougars were ranked No. 9 in last year’s preseason rankings and never fell below No. 14. So if we are looking for a team to make a BYU-type run this season, we are probably talking about someone between Nos. 11-15 making a push in the playoffs.

4. With Stanford losing Inky Ajanaku for the season, what are the chances the Cardinal can finish on top this season now?

Answer: Not as good. Obviously, losing a player of Ajanaku’s stature would take any program’s chances at winning a national championship down a notch or two. For Stanford, she was last season’s kill leader with 438 while hitting .428. She also was the block leader by one stuff. That’s a major front row force gone. The hope for Stanford is the strong senior leadership of Jordan Burgess, Madi Bugg and Brittany Howard, along with the arrival of freshman Hayley Hodson, will be enough to overcome the loss of such a talent.

5. Looking at the final poll of last season, which team has the best chance of finishing inside the Top 25 that missed doing so last year?

Answer: Michigan State. At least that’s our best guess. The Spartans return loads of talent plus add Big East Player of the Year in Autumn Bailey. That makes Michigan State a pretty good choice to finish inside the Top 25 this season.

At First Guess

Below is the final AVCA Top 25 poll of last season. We go through it and list our first guess whether this year’s team is going to be better, about the same or not as good as last year’s. Better could be mean more victories, a deeper postseason run and finishing higher up in the poll, whereas not as good equals not winning as many games, going as far in the tournament and falling spots. About the same means the team could finish right around a similar slot this season.

  1. Penn State – about the same
  2. Stanford – about the same
  3. BYU – not as good
  4. Wisconsin – about the same
  5. Texas – about the same
  6. Florida – about the same
  7. North Carolina – about the same
  8. Nebraska – better
  9. Washington – not as good
  10. Florida State – about the same
  11. Illinois – better
  12. Colorado State – about the same
  13. Ohio State – not as good
  14. Oregon – better
  15. UCLA – not as good
  16. Arizona – not as good
  17. Kentucky – about the same
  18. Utah – not as good
  19. Long Beach State – about the same
  20. Oregon State – not as good
  21. Colorado – about the same
  22. Arizona State – better
  23. Hawaii – better
  24. UALR – not as good
  25. Duke – about the same

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