PARK RIDGE, Ill. — After annually being at the top, Penn State this year is not the favorite to win the Big Ten, according to the preseason poll of conference coaches announced Thursday.
The Nittany Lions were voted to finish second this season, behind 2011 regular-season champion Nebraska. Purdue, which tied Penn State for second last season, was voted third, followed by Minnesota and Illinois.
The Illini played in the NCAA championship match last season, while the Golden Gophers will have new head coach Hugh McCutcheon, who just guided the U.S. women’s national team to a silver medal at the Olympics.
Three Nittany Lions appear on the preseason All-Big Ten team, led by unanimous choice Deja McClendon.
The junior outside hitter was joined by junior middle hitters Katie Slay and Ariel Scott.