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UNK women start season in AVCA Top 10

The UNK volleyball team huddles during a timeout, Nov. 4, 2017, while playing Central Oklahoma (KHGI)

The Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team is ranked No. 8 in the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Division II Top 25 preseason poll.

UNK went 33-4 last year and was ranked ninth in the final rankings. This is the 149th consecutive poll the Lopers have appeared in, as well as the 183rd time the program has cracked the top 10.

Kearney received 837 points to be one of 10 Central Region teams in the poll. Defending national champion Concordia University-St. Paul is No. 1 (1,198 points; 47 first place votes) with Southwest Minnesota State second (1,077 points). The CU-Golden Bears have won nine of the last 11 D2 national titles, sweeping Florida Southern for the 2017 crown.

Besides CU and SMSU, the other Central teams in the preseason poll are Minnesota-Duluth (No. 3), Northern State (No. 9), Arkansas Tech (No. 14), Central Oklahoma (No. 16), Winona State (No. 17), Central Missouri (No. 22) and Augustana (No. 23). Three other Central squads are receiving votes including Missouri Western State (No. 26) and Wayne State (No. 27).

This marks UNK's 320th week ranked in the AVCA Division II poll, fourth most behind UCM (411), the University of Tampa (384) and UMD (337). The last time Kearney wasn't ranked was the 2007 preseason poll.

With five starters and its top libero returning, UNK began fall camp this past Monday in Sioux City, Ia. The Lopers begin the regular season on Friday, August 24, at the Cougar Classic in San Marcos, Calif.

The next AVCA Top 25 will be released on Monday, August 27.

Courtesy UNK Sports Information

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