Badger volleyball enters season ranked No. 6 by NJCAA
EPHRAIM—For the first time in Snow College’s volleyball history, the Badgers will enter the season ranked in the top-10, said Coach Jeff Reynolds.
The NJCAA National Volleyball preseason rankings have Snow at No. 6. This marks the fourth straight season Snow College has started the season ranked among the top-20 teams in the nation, but the first time ranked among the top-10. Last season, the Badgers entered the season ranked No. 11, Reynolds said.
“We talked to our team today about what this all means,” Reynolds said. “We clearly understand this has nothing to do with what we have done this season. This ranking is based on what teams over the previous four seasons have done here to help establish our program as one of the top teams in the nation. We respect that and honor those players who have helped build this program. Now, this team has to go to work—with a very large target on our backs—and live up to that ranking.”
Upholding the Badgers’ preseason ranking won’t be easy, Reynolds said. Snow will play eight of the top-20 teams throughout the course of the season; this included the No. 1 and No. 19 teams last weekend, Jan. 22 and 23, at the New Mexico Military Institute Tournament in Odessa, Texas.
Snow opened on Friday against Vernon College followed by a match against No. 19 Missouri State West Plains. On Saturday, the Badgers took on No. 1 and defending National Champion Navarro College and Midland College.
“We can guess and wonder all year about how good we really are against the top teams in the nation, or we can go play them and see how we stack up,” Reynolds said. “The past two years have been rough experience for us at the national tournament. Playing these ranked teams early will give us the opportunity to see what we need to do to be better prepared in the event we have the opportunity to return to nationals again this year.”
In week two of the season, Snow College will travel to Sterling, Colo., to face its toughest challenge of the preseason with four matches in two days against four nationally-ranked opponents. On Jan. 29, the Badgers will start the day with an 11:30 a.m. match against No. 7 Iowa Western, followed by a 1:30 p.m. contest against No. 3 Seward County. On Saturday, Jan. 30, Snow will face Region XVIII foe No. 12 Utah State Eastern at 9 a.m., followed by an 11:30 a.m. match against host Northeastern JC.
In the final preseason tournament of the season, Snow College will travel to Prescott, Ariz., to face No. 5 Odessa College on Feb., in addition to playing matches against Eastern Arizona, Arizona Western and Yavapai College.
“By the time our conference season starts, we will have faced some darn good teams, so hopefully this experience will prepare us for league play as well,” Reynolds said. “After having our season postponed this fall, it’s going to be great to get back out on the court and play.”