By Bud Denega
ADA — For the third consecutive season, Ohio Northern's volleyball team will begin the season ranked nationally in the top 25. The Polar Bears were ranked 23rd nationally in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll on Wednesday.
Northern collected 208 points to tie for 23rd with Bowdoin (Me.). Emory (Ga.) topped the poll with 1,650 points and 52 first-place votes, while Calvin (Mich.) and Juniata (Pa.) rounded out the top three.
ONU opens the season against a couple of ranked foes. The Polar Bears host No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan, No. 2 Calvin and No. 6 Wittenberg as part of the ONU Invitational Aug. 30-31.
Northern is fresh off a season that saw it finish with a 22-8 overall record and an 8-1 mark in the Ohio Athletic Conference to share the regular-season crown with Otterbein. ONU went on to defeat Muskingum in the OAC Tournament title game to receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
The Polar Bears' 2018 season came to a close in the opening round of the NCAAs against No. 18 Wisconsin-Whitewater.
AVCA Coaches Poll - Preseason
Aug. 14, 2019
||School (First Place Votes)||Total
|1.||Emory (Ga.) (52)||1650||30-6||1|
|2.||Calvin (Mich.) (10)||1613||33-2||2|
|8.||Johnson & Wales (R.I.)||1164||33-2||11|
|14.||Washington-St. Louis (Mo.)||733||26-8||15|
|15.||Mary Hardin-Baylor (Tex.)||700||28-5||16|
|18.||Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.)||536||273-||18|
|22.||Christopher Newport (Va.)||265||26-6||RV|
|25.||St. Benedict (Minn.)||161||26-8||t23|
Others receiving votes and listed on two or more ballots: Pacific Lutheran 127; Carthage 82; Carnegie-Mellon 81; DePauw 42; Birmingham Southern 31; Texas-Dallas 27; Cal Lutheran 23; Wisconsin-Stevens Point 23; Susquehanna 19; Johns Hopkins 18; RIT 18; Northwestern (Minn.) 17; Amherst 13; MIT 11; Puget Sound 11; St. Thomas (Minn.) 11; Mount Union 10; Muskingum 10; Tufts 8; Case Western 6; La Verne 5; Franklin & Marshall 4; SUNY New Paltz 4.