Wins, losses, departures and newcomers. It’s the cycle of collegiate athletics that is no different in women’s volleyball. At the end of the year, we celebrate, we mourn and we get ready to start all over again. With the sad endings come happy beginnings, and most importantly a clean slate, one that is ready for the start of 2017.
For Stanford, their clean slate comes without the leadership and talent of Inky Ajanaku, while others like Texas look to wash away the despair of losing in the National Title match back-to-back seasons with a loaded roster that includes veterans, and some rookies that have had monstrous pre-season performances.
Schools like Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin look to move on from legends and start fresh with new budding stars and incoming freshmen.
Others like Florida and Kansas look to erase faltering early in the tournament and wash away the bad taste left in their mouth from 2016.
Mid-majors like BYU and Creighton battle to be the next non-power five darling, while smaller schools fight to be this year’s Cinderella story.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Penn State, a national power who looks ready to emerge as a National Title contender once again.
Schools we don’t even watch out for should emerge as well, while others will prove to be rated too highly early in the season.
In total, 478 NCAA Division I matches are scheduled for the first two days of the season. It won’t determine everything but it does mean something as we get our first look at new faces and reinvigorated players battling for wins, championships and to play the game they love.