After playing for 2018 national title, Stanford and Nebraska take top spots in preseason poll

LINCOLN — The two teams at the top of the final 2018 rankings are starting 2019 in the same position.

Stanford and Nebraska finished the year Nos. 1 and No. 2, respectively, after the Cardinal won the national title in a five-set match. They will start this season as the top two teams in the preseason coaches poll, which was released Tuesday afternoon.

NU and Stanford will meet in a rematch Sept. 18 at the DevaneyCenter.

Stanford was the No. 1 team on 62 of 64 ballots, while Nebraska and No. 8 Penn State each received one first-place vote.

Being ranked at the top is not unusual for Nebraska and Stanford. They are tied for the most times appearing in the coaches poll (543 weeks) and years in the final rankings (37). Nebraska has the edge in weeks at No. 1 with 99 compared to Stanford's 74.

The Huskers will play 12 matches this season against teams ranked in the preseason poll.

The Huskers start the season on Aug. 30 with a match against No. 18 Creighton. They also play No. 24 Arizona on Sept. 6 in San Diego.

Seven Big Ten teams were ranked, including five in the top 10: Minnesota (No. 3), Wisconsin (No. 5), Illinois (No. 6) and Penn State. Michigan (No. 15) and Purdue (No. 17) round out the ranked Big Ten teams.

Nebraska returns five starters from last year’s national runner-up team that went 29-7. However, they must replace outside hitter Mikaela Foecke and libero Kenzie Maloney, who were both All-Americans and two-time national champions.

(Nebraska opponents in bold)

1 Stanford (62) 1,598

2 Nebraska (1) 1,451

3 Minnesota 1,414

4 Texas 1,385

5 Wisconsin 1,329

6 Illinois 1,258

7 Kentucky 1,204

8 Penn State (1) 1,182

9 BYU 1,111

10 Florida 1,028

11 Oregon 934

12 Pittsburgh 827

13 Washington 797

14 Southern California 664

15 Michigan 645

16 Marquette 596

17 Purdue 571

18 Creighton 457

19 Tennessee 438

20 Baylor 407

21 San Diego 313

22 Washington State 289

23 Cal Poly 213

24 Arizona 157

25 Louisville 120

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