D III Women's Volleyball

A source for NCAA Division III women's volleyball info and opinion, with a focus on the Midwest and Central regions

Ricky Nelson’s 2014 preseason top 25

My ideas of a preseason top 25 are probably not your ideas of a preseason top 25. While I appreciate the sentiment of rubber-stamping the final 2013 poll, I prefer to flush 2013 and start anew with some risk. Prior performance matters to me insofar the prior performance is relevant in 2014. My top 25 shows my order of teams when they step on the court for the first time this year. I will be flat-out wrong on teams — too high and too low. But I hope those errors will be addressed when I publish my weekly top 10s.

Because I post this so early, I know very few incoming recruiting classes. D-III, especially the fall season, is a crap shoot. At least in winter and spring you have a surer sense of where athletes are enrolled. Volleyball is one of the tougher fall sports to gauge in the early going because freshmen and transfers often play crucial roles.

In previous years I’ve posted my preseason top 10 followed by a laundry list of 20-30 teams (see my preseason polls from 2013, 2012, 2011). Being slightly bolder, here is my 2014 preseason top 25 followed by a laundry list of another 20 teams I wouldn’t mind seeing the AVCA voters recognize. There are several others, but lists have to end somewhere. I agree if you think the laundry list is a crutch, but it’s the preseason and I like quite a few teams this year.

1. Emory
2. Wittenberg
3. Hope
4. St. Thomas
5. Juniata
6. Wisconsin-Whitewater
7. Washington-St. Louis
8. Wisconsin-Stevens Point
9. Calvin
10. Trinity (TX)
11. Saint Benedict
12. Pacific Lutheran
13. Pomona-Pitzer
14. Eastern
15. Mount Union
16. Colorado College
17. Christopher Newport
18. Nebraska Wesleyan
19. Coe
20. Millikin
21. Texas-Dallas
22. Ohio Northern
23. Cal Lutheran
24. Mary Hardin-Baylor
25. DePauw

Next 20 (in no particular order): Claremont-Mudd-Scripps; Bethany; UMass-Boston; Webster; Elmhurst; Clarkson; Williams; Otterbein; Stevenson; Augsburg; Thomas More; Randolph-Macon; Concordia-Moorhead; Susquehanna; Carthage; Cornell; Franklin & Marshall; Chicago; UC Santa Cruz; Southwestern.

Pretty wrong, right? I agree, there are some that stick out to me too. We’ll see.

-Ricky Nelson

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Written by Ricky Nelson

July 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. I can’t even begin to digest all of this. Once again, great work from that large DIII VB brain of yours!

    Emory is going to be a beast this year. Would their 2nd team be considered in this Top 25 list, if allowed? :-)

    Refresh me on how Nebraska Wesleyan works in DIII? They are in an independent conference of mostly non-DIII teams, right? No Pool B bids this year so they are only eligible for an at-large consideration? Did they get a waiver since I don’t think they will play enough DIII teams to qualify or is that still a thing (70% rule)?

    Love seeing the Dips (F&M) get some Ricky love. Looks like their schedule is a little tougher this year so maybe they can make some noise so another conference tournament loss won’t keep them home.

    From the west, I can’t drink the purple Pomona Pitzer Gatorade just yet but you are definitely in for a penny-in for a pound! Nice to see the UTD and UMHB efforts over the past year get some recognition as both will be strong.

    DIIIFan

    July 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

  2. Sorry, I didn’t see this comment until now.

    Yes, NWU is at-large with a waiver. The P’Wolves play in a very good NAIA conference and they hold their own. I recommend streaming one of their matches, especially against one of the better teams. I think NWU is easily forgotten in D-III. So much depends on NWU’s early season D-III matches, but I hope the P’Wolves are duly considered come tourney time.

    I knew the PP pick would raise eyebrows. For good reason. It’s out there. But I think it makes a modicum of sense.

    -Ricky Nelson

    Ricky Nelson

    August 6, 2014 at 11:30 am

  3. […] My preseason top 25 does not look like the AVCA’s, as expected. There are several ways to create a preseason ballot. The AVCA collective created theirs more traditionally than I. It’ll work itself out in the end. It usually does. […]

  4. […] a mention. Yes, I am championing more currently unranked teams this season. Thanks for asking. My preseason top 25 makes it clear which teams they are this year. Besides NWU that […]


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