Gophers volleyball ranks 16th in preseason poll

Megan Ryan

The American Volleyball Coaches Association ranked the Gophers women's volleyball team 16th in the nation Monday in a preseason poll.

The Gophers made a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2011 season with a 20-12 record. At the end of the year, the team ranked 15th in the nation.

Reigning NCAA champions UCLA was ranked first. Texas and Penn State rounded out the top three.

Five Big Ten programs earned rankings besides Minnesota and Penn State: No. 4 Nebraska, No. 7 Illinois, No. 9 Purdue, No. 23 Michigan and No. 24 Ohio State. Michigan State also received votes but did not make the top 25.

In addition to the Big Ten teams, Minnesota will also face other ranked opponents this season such as Texas, Kansas State and Tulsa.

The Gophers' season kicks off Aug. 25 against James Madison and Appalachian State in Harrisonburg, Va.