CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois volleyball team is ranked 6th in the AVCA preseason coaches poll, released on Tuesday. The Illini are one of five Big Ten teams in the Top 10. Defending national champion Stanford received all but two first place votes and is the clear cut favorite to repeat to start the year. National runner-up Nebraska is second in the poll, followed by Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin. Expectations are certainly higher for the Illini coming into head coach Chris Tamas’ third season in Orange and Blue after making it to the Final 4 last year for the first time since 2011.
“So the expectation level does raise a little bit. It was cool we want to get back there,” Tamas said after the team’s first practice on Saturday.
“Coming in everyday and trying to get a little bit better on that day instead of thinking too far into the future is something I think we’re really good at and will eventually help propel us into that goal,” Illinois senior outside hitter Jacqueline Quade said.
The first chance to see Illinois on the court this year is next Saturday, Aug. 24 when the team hosts its annual Orange and Blue scrimmage at 5 p.m. The season opener is Aug. 30 at Tennessee, with the home opener against the Vols two days later.