In a far from surprising result, the B1G preseason coaches poll placed volleyball newcomers Maryland and Rutgers at the bottom of the standings. This is perfectly understandable as the move to the Big Ten is a significant step up for squads coming from the ACC and AAC.
Sitting atop the coaches' poll is defending national champion Penn State. Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue round out the top five. Unlike the women's soccer poll released yesterday, the B1G coaches poll tracks reasonably well with the American Volleyball Coaches' Association (AVCA) poll released earlier this week. In the national rankings, the coaches placed Penn State first, Wisconsin sixth, Nebraska seventh, Purdue eighth and Illinois eleventh. In addition, the Big Ten placed two other schools, Minnesota (12) and Michigan State (16) in the top 25 with Michigan in the receiving votes category. No Terps made the preseason All-Conference team.
The Big Ten plays a slightly unbalanced 20 game schedule. The Terps will go on the road to Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State while hosting Indiana, Michigan State and Michigan. Maryland will face off in home and home matches against the remaining seven schools.
Maryland's first year head coach Steve Aird has not shied away from challenging his squad as they prepare for their inaugural B1G campaign. The Terps will play 11 matches before opening conference play. Aird has scheduled all 11 away from the Xfinity Center. Additionally, after staying close to home to begin the season, Aird is taking his Terrapins to the west coast where they will face Washington and USC. Last season the Huskies eliminated the Trojans in the round of eight in the NCAA Tournament before falling to the eventual national champs in the Final Four. This season's AVCA preseason poll has Washington fourth and Southern Cal fifth.
Continuing their march as early season road warriors, the Terps will open their inaugural B1G season at Illinois on September 26 and will then play at Northwestern the following night. On October third, Maryland will have their first chance to play in front of a friendly crowd when they host Indiana in their first home game of the season and their first ever Big Ten home conference game.
While you're waiting for that first home game on October 3, you can watch the Terps scrimmage for free. Details of the open scrimmages are here.