Coming off a 25-9 (13-7 Big Ten) record and a 19th overall NCAA Tournament berth in 2016, the MSU volleyball team was ranked 17th in the 2017 American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll on Wednesday.
The Spartans, who are one of eight Big Ten teams ranked, return four starters plus a libero for the 2017 season.
"Preseason recognition is a bit of looking into a mythical crystal ball and a bit of recognition for what you have done in the past, but everyone knows that those numbers really don't mean much once you step on the court," head coach Cathy George said to MSU Athletic Communications. "We feel good about the experience we bring back, but there's a very challenging Big Ten season ahead for all the teams in the Conference. We are focusing on our own preparation and foundation - practice by practice and game by game. There's a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, but we're focused on this being a day-to-day process."
The Spartans finished the 2016 season No. 19 in the final AVCA national poll are one of just three Big Ten programs to finish .500 in conference play over the last six seasons.
The Spartans return three AVCA All-American selections in redshirt senior Autumn Bailey and seniors Rachel Minarick and Alyssa Garvelink.
George, who enters her 13th season with the program, needs just three wins to notch 600 career victories as head coach of a volleyball program and 13 to become the all-time winningest coach in Spartan history.
MSU will hold its annual Green-White game on Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. at Jenison Field House. MSU’s first regular season home game is slated for Sept. 1.
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