To the surprise of very few, Papillion LaVista-South (Papillion, Neb.) tops the rankings as MaxPreps releases its first Xcellent 25 National Volleyball rankings of 2012.
With five returning starters, all destined to play Division-1 volleyball, the Titans will likely remain atop the Xcellent 25 until they lose in a shocking upset. The Titans have gone 41-0 in each of the last two seasons and each time they were honored by MaxPreps as mythical national champions. Last season they were also the top female team of the year for all sports
Simple math adds up to 82 straight wins and a pair of Nebraska state titles. The Titans are heavy favorites to make it three in a row, especially with a lineup that features three of the 12 players on the U.S. Junior Women's National team.
Those three - Kadie Rolfzen
and Amber Rolfzen
(twins), and Kelly Hunter
- have elevated their games. Their goal is not only a third-straight No. 1 ranking, but also to break the Nebraska prep record of 115 consecutive wins set by Scotus in 2004-06.
The twins and Hunter have verbally committed to play at Nebraska in 2013.
The first poll opens with four teams from California, three from Indiana, Texas and Florida, then two each from Ohio, Colorado and Kentucky. Though many schools east of the Mississippi River have played as many as a half dozen matches or more, many to the West began practice Aug. 20. MaxPreps 2012 Volleyball Tipoff Guide
/ Final 2011 Xcellent 25
Here's a quick look at the Top 25 ... and a few others. (2011 final national ranking in parentheses).MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Volleyball Rankings1. (1) Papillion-LaVista South (Papillion, Neb.), 41-0
Five starters return including All-American twins Kadie and Amber Rolfzen.2. (4) Assumption (Louisville, Ky.), 43-1
Assumption is off to an unbeaten start through three matches. The Rockets were 43-1 last year and captured another state title. They have run their win streak to 31. Next up is Male (Aug. 21) and St. Henry (Aug. 22). Mark your calendars for Sept. 26 when Assumption meets No. 1 Papillion-LaVista South and No. 9 Torrey Pines.3. (3) Chaparral (Parker, Colo.), 31-0
Working on a 53-match win streak and back-to-back state 5A titles, Chaparral will open the season by hosting No. 23 Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs) on Aug. 30. Both teams were unbeaten in 2011. 4. (13) Bishop Moore (Orlando, Fla.), 29-2
Bishop Moore finished 29-2 in 2011. BM is lead by senior outside hitter Lindsey Moore
(Va. Tech) and junior setter Allie Monserez
. Bishop Moore opens Aug. 29 at Lake Highland Prep (Orlando).
5. (26) Carroll (Southlake, Texas), 42-2
The Dragons are off to a 7-0 start after going 42-2 in 2011. Southlake Carroll won the Duncanville Tournament last weekend, knocking off Texas No. 1 Coppell as Katie Dunlap
(LSU) was named MVP and Cat McCoy
top defender. The Dragons will try to win another prestigious Texas invitational this weekend at Allen. 6. (11) Palo Alto (Calif.), 36-3
The Vikings open the season Sept. 4 hosting Notre Dame (Belmont). Palo Alto has won last two California Division I titles after a 36-3 season in 2011.7. (12) Presentation (San Jose, Calif.), 39-2
After winning their first state D-II title, the Panthers (39-2 in 2011) open their season at Spikefest at Independence (San Jose) on Sept. 1.8. (34) Punahou (Honolulu), 15-0
The Buff n' Blue were 15-0 in 2011. The Hawaii D-I state champs are led by Tayler Higgins
, the MVP at the recent Ann Kang Tournament when Punahou went 8-0. Dual season begins Aug. 28 versus Kamehameha-Kapalama.9. (NR) Torrey Pines (San Diego), 27-10
Torrey Pines won't open its season for a few weeks, but with four players on a D-1 stage next year, a special season seems likely. Torrey Pines will be led by 6-foot-6 senior Jennie Frager
(UCLA), 5-11 senior Ryann Chandler
(Pepperdine), Maddy Kerr
(California) and 6-2 junior Reily Buechler
(UCLA). 10. (16) Coppell (Texas), 42-9
Coppell is off to a 6-1 start after a 42-win season in 2011. The team starts at least four players who one day will be competing at D-1 level. Coppell finished second in the Duncanville tournament and will be defending its 5A title.11. (NR) Barnstable (Hyannis, Mass.), 23-0
Barnstable has won 13 of the last 15 state titles in its classification and is coming off an unbeaten season (23-0). Some think with 10 unbeaten seasons in the last 20 years, more recognition is due the northeast school. Its season opens Sept. 7 at North Quincy.12. (20) Los Alamitos (Calif.), 38-5
Los Al finished 2011 at 38-5. The Griffins graduated four, but have 6-2 junior Crissy Jones
in the middle. They open the season Sept. 11.13. (8) Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.), 42-3
The defending Kansas Class 5A state champions open their season Aug. 30 at Washburn Rural. The Stags have won four straight state titles.14. (15) Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.), 39-3
The 4A Illinois state champions open the season Aug. 21 hosting St. Charles East. Benet ended 2011 after winning 39 of 42 games. With four players 6-1 or taller, most teams will be looking up.15. (47) Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati), 23-5
Mount Notre Dame won the state's D-1 title in 2011. Led by Michelle Strizak
(Illinois), MND opens its season Aug. 25 hosting Centerville.16. (14) Yorktown (Ind.), 37-2
The Indiana 3A champions finished with a 37-2 record in 2011. They open Aug. 23 at Shanendoah (Middletown).17. (48) St. Ursula Academy (Toledo, Ohio), 28-1
St. Ursula Academy was 28-1 for the second year in a row. It opens its season Aug. 25 hosting Kenston (Chagrin Falls).
18. (10) Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas), 48-4
The Texas Class 3A state champions finished third at Duncanville after opening the season with wins over Red Oak, Lake Highlands and Plano West. Next up is Rowlett (Preston) Aug. 21, then comes a visit to No. 5 Southlake Carroll on Aug. 22.19. (22) Penn (Mishawaka, Ind.), 38-1
Penn has earned back-to-back 4A Indiana state titles with only a single loss in each of the last two seasons. The team opened 2012 with wins over Northwood and Plymouth, and hosts Concord Aug. 21. 20. (23) Avon (Ind.), 39-1
Avon lost in the state finals to Penn last season. The team is led by super sophomore Beth Prince
and opened the 2012 season with over Grove and Hamilton Southeast. Avon visits No. 25 Carmel Tuesday.21. (6) Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.), 30-2
The defending Florida Class 4A state champions finished 30-2 in 2011, but coach Randy Dagostino stepped down and the top two players moved on to college. The team opens its season Sept. 5 against No. 5 Bishop Moore of Orlando.22. (19) Marymount (Los Angeles), 33-5
The defending Southern California Division I champions open their season in September.23. (NR) Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 31-0
Cheyenne Mountain opens Aug. 30 against No. 3 Chaparral and is working on an impressive win streak at 52. It has won four straight 4A state titles.24. (NR) Whitewater (Fayetteville, Ga.), 42-15
The Hounds are off to a 7-0 start that includes tournament gold at the Sequoyah Classic and a win over Pope (Marietta), the No. 7 team in final 2011 MaxPreps Poll.25. (31) Xavier College Prep (Phoenix), 42-3
Led by senior Amanda Benson
(Oregon) and junior Mia Teilborg
, Xavier's season begins with Westwood (Mesa) on Aug. 28.Special Mention(49) Mercy (Louisville, Ky.), 29-12
Off to a 5-0 start and hosts Holy Cross Aug. 21.(NR) Carmel (Ind.), 26-4
Led by 6-3 Lauren Pitz
(Ga. Tech), Carmel has opened with four convincing wins, including 3-0 over impressive Sacred Heart (Louisville, Ky.). Next match is at No. 20 Avon (Tuesday).(5) St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.), 47-1
St. James opens the season Aug. 25 against Gardner-Edgerton (35-9 in 2011). St. James is 185-8 in the last five seasons with four state 6A titles to show for it. its only 2011 loss was to No. 1 Papillion-LaVista South, but lost six senior starters.
Notables: Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.)
, Pope (Marietta, Ga.)
, East Lake (Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
, Cy-Woods (Cypress, Texas)
, Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
, Bishop Kelley (Tulsa, Okla.)
, Chattahoochee (Alpharetta, Ga.)
, DuPont Manual (Louisville, Ky.)
, Marist (Chicago)
and Doherty (Colorado Springs, Colo.).Contact National Volleyball Editor Tom Mauldin at email@example.com.