Stanford, Nebraska top women's volleyball poll

Defending national champion Stanford is No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association women's preseason poll, right ahead of last year's runner-up Nebraska.

The rankings were released Tuesday, and there was no surprise about the top spot. Stanford, led by reigning national player of the year Kathryn Plummer, returns five seniors who've made three consecutive appearances in volleyball's final four -- winning two.

Stanford got 62 first-place votes; the only other teams to get a vote for the top spot were Nebraska and Penn State, with one each.

The Cardinal and Huskers will meet in one of the season's top nonconference showdowns on Sept. 18 in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is just part of a rugged nonconference schedule, as Stanford also opens the season Aug. 30-31 on the road against College of Charleston and Duke. Starting Sept. 4, Stanford has consecutive matches against No. 10 Florida, No. 4 Texas, No. 8 Penn State, No. 3 Minnesota, Nebraska and No., 9 BYU.

While a Pac-12 school is the atop the rankings, the Big Ten is a little more dominant in the preseason poll with seven ranked teams. The Pac-12 has six ranked teams overall.

The volleyball national semifinals and finals are Dec. 19-21 in Pittsburgh.