What do the PVB Pre-Season Rankings represent?
At best, a perfect reflection of how the teams will ultimately stack up.
At worst, a total blunder before the first ball has even been served.
More probable is somewhere in the middle, as are the chances nobody remembering either way when the season’s over in December.
The type of information we tend to retain is more like who won it all.
In that sense, all that matters then is which program are we going to anoint No. 1 to begin 2017?
That answer is below.
1. Texas – There are a bunch of talented teams and only one can walk away with the championship trophy. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the Longhorns, but they start 2017 with the most talented lineup in the country. One that features Ebony Nwanebu, Chiaka Ogbogu, Micaya White and Lexi Sun.
2. Stanford – Everyone knows about the changes that took place. Everyone also knows Stanford still has Kathryn Plummer, Jenna Gray, Audriana Fitzmorris and Morgan Hentz. And they have championship experience.
3. North Carolina – A young lineup more than flashed potential a season ago. With ballers like Taylor Leath and Julia Scoles back on the outside and a deep roster that includes Taylor Borup and Holly Carlton, the Tar Heels are set up for a monster year.
4. Penn State – A slow start in 2016 almost gave way to one of the biggest upsets, as the NIttany Lions nearly knocked off Nebraska in the Sweet 16. Much of that same lineup is back for Penn State, including stud outside Simone Lee and fiery middle Haleigh Washington.
5. Nebraska – It’s a changing of the guard as the Rolfzen twins are gone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean slippage. Nebraska recruits with the best of them, plus the Huskers still have outside Makaela Foecke and middle Bri Holman to build around.
6. Washington – There’s plenty of senior leadership on the Huskies with the likes of Courtney Schwan, Bailey Tanner, Crissy Jones and Tia Scambray. They’ll keep Washington among the country’s best.
7. Minnesota – We know if the Gophers are to make their third straight Final Four, it’ll come with a new starting lineup. However, one that will still feature setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson and middle Molly Lohman.
8. Creighton – Kill leaders Jaali Winters and Taryn Kloth are back. So is setter Lydia Dimke. That means Creighton has the ability to reach the Elite Eight again with the right breaks.
9. Kansas – With the senior duo of Kelsie Payne and Ainise Havili teaming with transfer Gabby Simpson, the Jayhawks are poised for another season full of victories.
10. UCLA – The outside tandem of Sarah Sponcil and Reily Buechler will aim to keep the Bruins among the nation’s most dangerous in 2017.