East Lansing, Michigan -- - Michigan State has been selected sixth in the Big Ten preseason volleyball poll , as was announced by the Conference office on Thursday, Aug. 14. Defending NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State was chosen as the conference favorite after claiming its sixth national title last season. The poll is formulated by a vote of the conference's 14 head coaches.
In addition, the coaches selected a pre-season all-conference team, and senior libero Kori Moster was one of six unanimous selections among the 15 players selected to the team. The two-time defending Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and two-time All-America captains the Spartans this season for the third year in a row.
"Kori is deserving of the honor without a doubt," said Spartan coach Cathy George. "I think that she has absolutely distinguished herself within our Conference, and she just might be the best player at her position in the country. She's been an exceptional leader in addition to being a standout player, and she is invaluable to our team.
As for the poll, I think it supports what I thought when the national poll came out earlier in the week," continued George. "There's seven Conference teams in the top 14 nationally, and the Big Ten is so darned competitive and talented, top to bottom. A bad night can cost you one or two spots in the standings when all is said and done. We have to be ready to compete every time we take the floor. For the fans, it makes Big Ten volleyball a great product to watch. We're excited to get the season going. "
Penn State, which was also No. 1 in the AVCA National preseason poll announced earlier this week, and top the Big Ten preseason poll for the ninth time in the last 10 years. Nebraska was selected No. 2, while national runner-up Wisconsin was No. 3, Illinois No. 4, and Purdue No. 5. After the Spartans at No. 6, Minnesota (which came in at No. 12 in the AVCA poll, ahead of MSU) is ranked seventh; Michigan, Ohio State, and Northwestern, round out the top 10. Iowa, Indiana, and Maryland, and Rutgers are 11-14 in the pre-season ranking.
Moster is the only Spartan to make the preseason All-Big Ten team, but was one of six players in the conference to earn a vote from each of the other 13 head coaches (coaches may not vote for their own student-athletes). Nine of the 15 athletes named to the team are seniors.
The Spartans continue to make their way through their pre-season camp, and fans can get their first look at the 2014 Spartan team on Saturday, Aug. 23 in the annual Green & White Game at Jenison Field House (4 pm.)
2014 BIG TEN PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL POLL
1. Penn State
6. Michigan State
9. Ohio State
2014 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM
unanimous choices in all caps
JOCELYNN BIRKS, Jr., OH, Illinois
Liz McMahon Sr., OPP, Illinois
Lexi Dannemiller, Sr., S, Michigan
Kori Moster, Sr., L, Michigan State
Adrianna Nora, Sr., MB/OPP, Minnesota
Hannah Tapp, So., MB, Minnesota
Mary Pollmiller, Sr., S, Nebraska
KADIE ROLFZEN, So., OH, Nebraska
Megan Courtney, Jr, S/OH, Penn State
Nia Grant, Sr., OH, Penn State
MICHA HANCOCK, Sr., S, Penn State
KiKi Jones, Sr., MB, Purdue
VAL NICHOL, S/OH, Purdue
LAUREN CARLINI, So., S, Wisconsin
Ellen Chapman, Sr., OH, Wisconsin