The Gophers are ranked No. 6 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll released Monday.
Defending national champion Texas leads the poll, followed by Penn State, Stanford, Southern California and Washington. Five other Big Ten teams joined the No. 2 Nittany Lions and Gophers in the top 25 — No. 7 Michigan, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 16 Purdue and No. 23 Ohio State.
The last time the Gophers were ranked sixth in the preseason was in 2010, coming off a Final Four berth.
The Gophers’ schedule also includes matches against No. 19 Louisville and No. 17 Kentucky in the Bluegrass Battle the weekend of Sept. 13-14. Minnesota opens the season Aug. 30-31 at the UAB/Samford Challenge in Birmingham, Ala.
The Gophers open their home schedule Sept. 6-7 in the Diet Coke Classic at the Sports Pavilion.
The Gophers, under second-year coach Hugh McCutcheon, finished the 2012 season with a 27-8 record and an Elite Eight appearance. Minnesota went 15-5 in conference play, tying for second place.