The Best Colleges for Volleyball Enthusiasts

These are some of the best colleges for volleyball lovers to attend!

Main image courtesy of Verses From Mama.

Between figuring out how to finance your college education, finishing applications, and developing the skills you'll need in college to be successful, your final year of high school can be incredibly stressful. It’s even more difficult when you don’t know precisely what schools offer extracurriculars and recreation opportunities that appeal to you-- whether that means clubs, charities, or sports.

Here, we’ve done some of the work for you. If you’re interested in playing volleyball in college, you definitely need to know what schools have noteworthy volleyball programs. Even if you’re mostly just interested in attending games on your free evenings-- chances are you want to be treated to a great match. We’ve gone ahead and listed some of the best colleges for volleyball in the country!

The Best Colleges for Volleyball

Stanford University

Stanford University is one of the best colleges in the country to attend if you want to play volleyball-- or attend an exciting game. The women’s volleyball team, the Stanford Cardinals, plays in the Pacific 12 Conference under coach Kevin Hambly and has an impressive record. The team has won more national championships than any other college women’s volleyball team-- nine-- has been the runner up in a national championship eight times, and almost always qualifies for the postseason. Needless to say, this team is one to keep an eye on if you want to be part of an excellent volleyball team or watch one in action.

Princeton University

Princeton University volleyball players cheering
Princeton University is one of the best colleges for volleyball. Image courtesy of Shaw Local.

Both of Princeton’s volleyball teams have great records-- and according to NCASports, this is the second best volleyball college in the country. This year, the women’s team, in particular, has had a solid season, taking down schools like Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, and Cornell. In addition to being a great school academically, Princeton’s sports scene is pretty lively-- so if you want to be able to attend a good game after your classes, this is one you should take a look at.

University of Florida

University of Florida volleyball players celebrating
The University of Florida has a strong volleyball team. Image courtesy of Alachua Chronicle.

The Florida Gators-- the women’s volleyball team at the University of Florida-- is a great school to attend if you want to be part of a consistently good team. The Division I team plays in the Southeastern Conference, and has consistently appeared in NCAA championships-- from regional championships up to the NCAA Championship Finals in 2017. The 2023 season has been a strong one so far, too, with the Gators’ record currently sitting at 12-4. Given the school’s overall consistency, it’s a great one for volleyball enthusiasts to keep in mind while applying to colleges.

University of Pennsylvania-- Penn

The University of Pennsylvania's volleyball team in action, with jersey number 8 mid-jump
The University of Pennsylvania should be on your radar if you’re interested in playing college volleyball. Image courtesy of The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The University of Pennsylvania boasts one of the best volleyball programs in the country. The Quakers, an NCAA Division I team in the Ivy League Conference, are a passionate team currently led by coach Meredith Schamun, and they keep a challenging non-conference schedule-- so keeping up with the team is sure to be a treat, at the very least. If you’re interested in playing volleyball in college, too, the Quakers should be on your radar-- this is a great team to keep track of.

University of California-- Los Angeles

UCLA should be on the list of schools to keep an eye on for any college volleyball lover-- whether you’re a player or a spectator. The Bruins play in the Pacific 12 Conference under coach Alfee Reft, and they have an excellent record. They have made 27 out of 28 NCAA tournaments, and out of those 27 NCAA tournaments, they have made the Final Four 11 times-- the second most Final Four appearances out of any NCAA volleyball team. Besides having a great volleyball program, UCLA is located in Los Angeles, giving spectators plenty of places to celebrate the team’s wins after each game.

University of Michigan

University of Michigan volleyball players celebrating
The University of Michigan’s volleyball program has risen in popularity in the past twenty-four years. Image courtesy of Volleyball Showcase Camps.

In the past twenty-four years, the Michigan Wolverines-- the women’s basketball team at the University of Michigan-- have risen to national renown. This is largely due to the efforts of the team members and their head coach during that time, Mark Rosen. During Rosen’s term as head coach, the team made it to the NCAA tournament over a dozen times, reaching the semifinals in 2012.

Starting in 2023, the Wolverines have a new head coach, Erin Virtue-- so it’ll be exciting for volleyball lovers at the University of Michigan to follow her and her team in the years to come. A number of incredibly strong players have played for the Wolverines in the past-- the team has nineteen members, current or past, who have received recognition from the All-Big Ten Conference.

Northwestern University

A Northwestern University volleyball player, with jersey number 12, mid-jump
Northwestern University has a challenging volleyball season ahead of them. Image courtesy of Inside NU.

If you want to play volleyball in college, make sure to keep Northwestern University on your list of schools to look into. The Northwestern Wildcats have a strong record, taking down teams like the Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, and Rutgers Scarlet Knights in their 2021 season.

In 2023, they have a challenging season lined up-- including games against five NCAA tournament participants in their non-conference lineup. Head coach Shane Davis is excited to give his team exposure to different teams and playing systems, so if you want the opportunity to play against different types of teams with different styles, you might want to try and get involved with Northwestern’s volleyball program.

University of Wisconsin-- Madison

Members of the volleyball team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison celebrating together
The University of Wisconsin-- Madison has an excellent winning record in their 2023 season. Image courtesy of Bucky's 5th Quarter.

The University of Wisconsin in Madison has an excellent volleyball team-- in their 2022 season, the Badgers had an amazing 28-4 winning record, with a winning rate of 0.875. So far in 2023, they are undefeated, so this is definitely a team to keep an eye on if you want to get involved with an excellent volleyball program in college.

The team has made 26 appearances in the NCAA tournament, including three years where they were runners-up and one year as tournament champions. It’s no surprise that they have such a great record with such great players-- including Sarah Franklin, who was recently named the Big Ten player of the week. The Badgers are also one of the most popular college volleyball teams in the country, so if you’re looking for an exciting game to attend with friends, this is the school for you.

University of Nebraska-- Lincoln

If you want to get involved with a trailblazing volleyball program in college, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln should absolutely be high on your list. The Nebraska Cornhuskers, a Division I team that competes in the Big Ten Conference, leads the college volleyball scene more often than not. The team has won more games than any other college volleyball team, has won five national championships, and has had a staggering ninety-eight All American players during its time-- more than any other team in the country.

It’s also one of the most popular volleyball programs, so if you’re looking for a vivid sports scene, this is the place for you. The Cornhuskers have sold out every single home game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center since 2001, with the 2023 season seeing a new record of 92,003 people at a single home match.

University of Louisville

The Louisville Cardinals' volleyball team celebrating together (in black, red, and white jerseys)
The University of Louisville has one of the top-ranked volleyball teams in the country. Image courtesy of Courier Journal.

The University of Louisville, located in Louisville, Kentucky, is currently ranked No. 2 in college women’s volleyball. With its high ranking, great winning record, talented players, and amazing coach, hopeful college volleyball players should keep this school in mind while applying to schools. Coach Dani Busboom Kelly has been leading the Louisville Cardinals since 2016, and in that time, the team has accomplished some great things-- including two consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances and their first ever No. 1 ranking in 2021. The players have been putting in just as much work as the coach-- four of them were placed on the AVCA All-American Team in 2022-- so this would be a great team to learn from and grow with.

University of Oregon

The women's volleyball team at the University of Oregon, in white and green jerseys, celebrating
The University of Oregon has appeared several times in NCAA tournaments. Image courtesy of Daily Emerald.

The Oregon Ducks, a member of the Pacific 12 Conference, have made several NCAA tournament appearances, including in the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and Final Four matches-- so it’s definitely a school to keep an eye on if you’re passionate about volleyball. In 2023, the team is ranked ninth in the nation-- and is performing extremely well, defeating challenging teams like Northwestern, UCLA, Pittsburgh, and Arizona. 

Those Were the Best Colleges to Attend for Volleyball!

Although the college search can be extremely stressful, it always helps when you have an understanding of what each school on your application list offers-- whether that means majors, certification programs, clubs, charity organizations, or opportunities to get involved with university sports teams. Especially if you want to get involved with sports in college-- either as a player or a spectator-- it’s important to know what schools have the strongest and most lively programs. So if you’re interested in playing or keeping up with volleyball in college, make sure to check into the schools on this list-- all of them have impressive volleyball programs, so they are well worth your consideration!

Skyler Watkins
Skyler Watkins is an aspiring author and editor located in Columbus, Ohio.
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