Way-Too-Early 2018 VM Top 25 (#16-20): Colorado Ready to Add to Breakout 2017

  0 Derek Johnson | May 29th, 2018 | ACC, Big 12, Big East, College - Women's Indoor, Missouri Valley Conference, News, Pac 12

We are 12 weeks away from the first week of the 2018 Division I women’s volleyball season. With that being said, it’s time for VolleyMob’s Way-Too-Early 2018 Preseason Top 25.

Since these rankings are early and we don’t necessarily have the full picture in terms of recruiting and transfers still to come, most of this is based on experience and starters returning. As we move closer to the fall, we will update our rankings as needed. Until then, we will release five teams at a time this week, leading to the culmination of #1-5 on Friday.

  • #21-25 (Monday)
  • #16-20 (Below)
  • #11-15 (Wednesday)
  • #6-10 (Thursday)
  • #1-5 (Friday)


  • 2017 Finish/Rank: Sweet 16, #16 in final VM Top 25
  • 2017 Record: 24-10 (12-8 Pac-12)
  • Starters Likely Returning for 2018: 4 + Libero
  • Key Returners: OH Alexa Smith (2017 AVCA Second-Team AA), S Brynna Deluzio (2017 AVCA All-America HM), MB Naghede Abu (2017 Pac-12 HM), OH Frankie Shebby (2017 Pac-12 HM)
  • Key Losses: RS Joslyn Hayes (2017 Pac-12 HM)
  • Bottom Line: Colorado should be ready to rock in 2018 after a phenomenal 2017 season. They bring back four starters plus the libero, led by Alexa Smith – a dark horse Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate if the Buffaloes can rise up the standings. They’ll have to overcome the loss of Hayes along with a starting middle blocker and a solid bench option, but the pieces are there for the Buffaloes to be even better in 2018. That especially rings true after they have NCAA Tournament experience and success under their belt from the previous season.


  • 2017 Finish/Rank: Second Round, #12 in final VM Top 25
  • 2017 Record: 26-7 (16-2 Big East)
  • Starters Likely Returning for 2018: 4* + Libero
  • Key Returners: L Brittany Witt (2017 AVCA All-America HM, Big East LOTY), OH Jaali Winters (2017 Big East First-Team), OH Taryn Kloth (2017 Big East Second-Team)
  • Key Losses: S Lydia Dimke (2017 AVCA All-America HM), MB Marysa Wilkinson (2017 AVCA All-America HM)
  • Bottom Line: Technicaly Creighton only returns three starters if you base it on who started at least half of the matches, but the semi-starter they lose in Kenzie Crawford (12 starts) is replaced by Alexa Roumeliottis (14 starts) and Kloth (eight starts). The biggest loss comes at setter with Dimke, Crawford (who could fill in) and Jaclyn Taylor (transferring to Omaha) gone. They did get a tad bit of experience playing when Dimke was injured though as Samantha Bohnet was the team’s leader in assists during the absence plus the BlueJays add Rutgers transfer Megan Sharkey and Marshall transfer Madelyn Cole. That’ll be crucial with all the success they’ve had over the last two years as they struggled in the matches without Dimke.


  • 2017 Finish/Rank: Second Round, #17 in final VM Top 25
  • 2017 Record: 24-7 (13-3 Big 12)
  • Starters Likely Returning for 2018: 4
  • Key Returners: MB Shelly Fanning (2017 AVCA All-America HM), S Hannah Lockin (2017 AVCA All-America HM), OH Yossiana Pressley (2017 AVCA All-America HM, Big 12 FOTY), OH Aniah Philo (2017 Big 12 Second-Team)
  • Key Losses: OH Katie Staiger (2017 Big 12 First-Team, 2016 AVCA Second-Team AA)
  • Bottom Line: The Bears are coming off their best season in program history as they earned a spot hosting in the NCAA Tournament before getting upended in the second round. Who knows what the result would have been had Katie Staiger been healthy all season, but on the bright side that may have helped develop some of their young talent for 2018 such as Yossiana Pressley. Bringing on another dynamic pin player in Maryland transfer Gia Milana should help too. They’ll have to overcome the loss of libero Jana Brusek as well, but Baylor should be the favorite to come in second of the Big 12.


  • 2017 Finish/Rank: Second Round, RV in final VM Top 25
  • 2017 Record: 26-7 (18-2 ACC)
  • Starters Likely Returning for 2018: 6 + Libero
  • Key Returners: RS Nika Markovic (2017 AVCA All-America HM), OH Stephanie Williams (2017 AVCA All-America HM), S Kamalani Akeo (2017 All-ACC First Team), OH Kayla Lund (2017 ACC Freshman Team), MB/RS Chinaza Ndee (2017 ACC Freshman Team)
  • Key Losses: None with award recognition
  • Bottom Line: The Panthers enjoyed a phenomenal season as they built on 2016 success with an even better 2017. The Co-ACC Champions won an NCAA Tournament match and even played Penn State tight before bowing out. 2018 might be the pinnacle of the last three years for the program, as they return all of their starters. That should make them the preseason ACC favorites and give them a shot at hosting in the opening rounds.


  • 2017 Finish/Rank: Second Round, RV in final VM Top 25
  • 2017 Record: 27-9 (15-3 MVC)
  • Starters Likely Returning for 2018: 5 + Libero
  • Key Returners: OH Karlie Taylor (2017 AVCA All-America HM), MB Piper Thomas (2017 AVCA All-America HM), OH Bri Weber (2017 MVC First-Team), OH Jaydlin Seehase (2017 MVC Freshman Team)
  • Key Losses: S Heather Hook (2017 AVCA All-America HM, MVC Setter of the Year)
  • Bottom Line: The Panthers have been one of the top ‘mid-major’ schools of late, and really emerged on the scene in 2017 with highlight wins over Nebraska, Iowa State, Missouri and USC. They have all but one starter back in looking for more in 2018 too. Unfortunately that one starter was their all-everything setter Heather Hook, but if they can fill the role they should have a smooth ride to an MVC title.

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