April 30, 2012
[ONE // illini men’s golf makes it four straight]
Illinois won the Big Ten Men's Golf Championships on Sunday, shooting a 23-over 1,175 to clinch its fourth-straight and 11th overall conference title. The Fighting Illini took the lead in the second round of the championships and remained in front through the rest of the event, outshooting second-place Indiana (+26) by three strokes. Northwestern (+34) finished third at the championships, followed by fourth-place Michigan State (+40) and fifth-place Purdue (+50). Illinois' Luke Guthrie won his second consecutive championships' individual medal, shooting a 5-under-par 283 over four rounds. Northwestern’s Sam Chien recorded the second under-par round of the championships, carding a 1-under 287 for the event. Michigan’s Matt Thompson (+1), Indiana’s David Mills (+4) and Michigan State’s Dan Ellis (+5) rounded out the top five. Guthrie was also honored with the Les Bolstad Award, given to the conference player with the lowest stroke average to par this season. The All-Championships Team featured the Illini’s Guthrie and Thomas Pieters, Indiana’s Mills, Michigan’s Thompson, Michigan’s State’s Ellis and Northwestern’s Chien.
[TWO // spartans go back-to-back in women’s golf]
Michigan State won its second consecutive Big Ten Women’s Golf Championships and fifth overall on Sunday at the Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort. The 23rd-ranked Spartans led after the final three rounds of the tournament, compiling a team score of 885 (+21) en route to the title. Purdue finished second, trailing Michigan State by 10 strokes at 895 (+31), while Ohio State took third at (+34). Purdue's Laura Gonzalez took individual medalist honors at the championships, finishing with an even-par 216 through 54 holes. After posting a 6-over 78 in round one, Gonzalez fired back-to-back rounds of 3-under 69’s to finish the championships in first place. The Boilermaker junior's finish marks the fifth consecutive year that a Purdue golfer has earned medalist honors. Michigan's Yugene Lee finished with a 1-over 217 en route to second place, while Michigan State’s Caroline Powers and Lindsey Solberg, Nebraska’s Madeleine Sheils and Ohio State’s Rachel Rohanna finished tied for third with a 2-over 218 for the championships. Gonzalez was also honored with the Mary Fossum Award, given to the Big Ten player with the lowest stroke average to par this season. The All-Championships Team featured Michigan’s Lee, Michigan State's Powers and Solberg, Nebraska’s Sheils, Ohio State’s Rohanna and Purdue’s Gonzalez
[THREE // illinois back on top in men’s tennis]
Third-seeded Illinois rallied from a 3-1 deficit with victories at the No. 5, 6 and 2 singles positions to knock off top-seeded Ohio State Sunday and earn the Illini's first Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament title since 2005. In the clinching match at the No. 2 spot, Illinois' Roy Kalmanovich knocked off the Buckeyes' Blaz Rola, ranked sixth nationally, to end OSU's six-year run as tournament champions. The Illini advanced to the title match by posting their second straight shutout of the tournament with a 4-0 win over No. 22-ranked and second-seeded Michigan. The Buckeyes advanced to the championship match following a 4-1 win over No. 5 Indiana. For more information and complete results from the Big Ten Tournament, follow this link.
[FOUR // handing out hardware]
The Big Ten men’s tennis All-Conference teams and individual awards were announced on Thursday night at the Big Ten Tournament banquet. Michigan junior Evan King was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year, while Minnesota’s Leandro Toledo earned Freshman of the Year honors and Ohio State’s Ty Tucker picked up Coach of the Year laurels. King was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection and was joined by Illinois’ Roy Kalmanovich and Dennis Nevolo, Indiana’s Isade Juneau and Josh MacTaggart, Michigan State’s Aaron Pfister, Minnesota’s Rok Bonin and Toledo, Nebraska’s Christopher Aumueller and Ohio State’s Chase Buchanan, Peter Kobelt and Blaz Rola on the first team. Earning consideration on the second team were Michigan’s Alex Petrone, Nebraska’s Benedikt Lindheim, Northwestern’s Josh Graves, Ohio State’s Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen and Purdue’s Mark Kovacs. For more information on the major award winners, click here.
[FIVE // purdue boilers up in women’s tennis]
There is always a first time for everything! Congratulations to fifth-seeded Purdue women’s tennis team, which rallied from a 3-2 deficit with wins at the No. 5 and 2 positions to edge second-seeded Michigan 4-3 giving the Boilermakers their first Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament title. Purdue's Lynda Xepoleas won a third-set tiebreaker at No. 2 singles to clinch the victory. The Boilermakers knocked off top-seeded Northwestern, 4-2, in Saturday morning's semifinal match – a historic win in Big Ten Tournament lore as Northwestern had previously won the past 13 events dating back to 1999. Michigan defeated Illinois 4-0 in the semifinals to advance to the title match. For a closer look on how the teams advanced through the bracket, click here.
[SIX // michigan and nebraska take home women’s tennis postseason awards]
The Big Ten announced on Thursday its women’s tennis All-Conference teams and individual award winners at the conference tournament banquet. Nebraska’s Mary Weatherholt was named Athlete of the Year, while Michigan’s Emina Bektas took home Freshman of the Year honors. The Wolverines’ Ronni Bernstein and the Huskers’ Scott Jacobsen were tabbed Co-Coaches of the Year. Jacobsen becomes the first Nebraska coach to take home Coach of the Year honors after leading the Huskers to a 23-3 overall record and a 9-2 mark in conference play. Jacobsen became the first Nebraska head coach to take home Coach of the Year honors, guiding Nebraska to the No. 4 seed in this year’s tournament. Bektas and Weatherholt were both unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selections and are joined by Iowa’s Sonja Molnar, Michigan’s Bolender, Northwestern’s Kate Turvy and Penn State’s Petra Januskova as unanimous picks. Also on the first team were Illinois’ Allison Falkin and Melissa Kopinski, Indiana’s Leslie Hureau, Minnesota’s Natallia Pintusava, Northwestern’s Belinda Niu and Purdue’s Jennifer Rabot. Earning consideration on the second team are Illinois’ Marisa Lambropoulus, Michigan’s Sarah Lee, Nebraska’s Patricia Veresova, Northwestern’s Brittany Wowchuk, Penn State’s Chelsea Utting and Wisconsin’s Alaina Trgovich. For more information on the major postseason award winners, click here.
[SEVEN // stories worth pitching]
Three Big Ten baseball pitchers were recognized this past week by members of the national media and national award voters. Penn State's Steven Hill was named National Co-Pitcher of the Week by the NCBWA on Tuesday following his no-hitter on Saturday. Hill threw a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory over Iowa two weeks ago and became the first Penn State pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Nate Bump did against Duquesne in 1995. He was also the first Nittany Lion pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in a Big Ten game. On Tuesday, Minnesota's TJ Oakes and Purdue's Lance Breedlove were named to the Pitcher of the Year Watch List as announced by the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
[EIGHT // boiler baseball boiling]
The Purdue baseball team continues to lengthen its lead in the Big Ten standings as a 2-1 effort this past week has the Boilermakers sitting atop the conference at 14-3, with second-place resident Minnesota well back at 9-5. Indiana sits third at 7-6, followed by Nebraska at 8-7 and Illinois, Michigan State and Penn State tied for fifth at 7-7. Purdue’s Barrett Serrato posted a grand slam Friday in a 6-2 win over Michigan State, while Indiana earned its first of three straight wins at Michigan. Sunday’s first game, which was a makeup of Saturday’s postponed contest, gave IU mentor Tracy Smith career win No. 500. The Boilers fought off a pesky MSU ballclub on Saturday, taking a wild 4-3 win in 14 innings, but then dropped the third game Sunday by a 5-0 margin. Minnesota topped Iowa 5-4 on Friday and earned a 4-3 victory Saturday, but suffered its first conference home loss of the season with a 5-4 loss in 12 innings to the Hawkeyes.
[NINE // top half…who wants to win the softball crown?]
The plot has certainly thickened in the race for the Big Ten softball title as Michigan holds a slight advantage over four other teams in the conference standings. The Wolverines are 13-5 in conference play this season and sit one game ahead of Nebraska and Purdue at 12-5. Iowa and Wisconsin are 12-6 on the year. In a home series with Illinois this past week, Michigan dropped a 5-1 decision in eight innings on Saturday and then split contests, 2-1 and 2-0, on Sunday. Nebraska opened the weekend with a pair of wins over Michigan State, but was rained out Sunday in the series finale. Purdue went 2-1 at home against Wisconsin this weekend, winning the bookend games 7-2 and 6-5, while falling 7-1 in game two.
[TEN // drafted for service]
A total of 41 Big Ten football players were picked this past week in the 2012 NFL Draft. Four standouts were taken in the first round, including Iowa’s Riley Reiff, who was taken 23rd overall by the Detroit Lions. Houston picked up Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus at No. 26, while Cincinnati chose Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler immediately after Mercilus at No. 27. Illinois’ speedy wideout A.J. Jenkins was selected 30th by the San Francisco 49ers. For a complete breakdown of where all 41 Big Ten football players went in the draft, click here to be escorted to the Big Ten’s 2012 NFL Draft Central.
[ELEVEN // sparty should stick to the sidelines]
While 41 Big Ten football players were taken in the NFL Draft, don’t expect Sparty to become the first mascot drafted at the next level. On Saturday during Michigan State’s annual spring game, Sparty was entered at tailback for one play. BTN captured great video of Sparty’s debut, which did not last long as the beefed-up mascot was stopped behind the line of scrimmage and even fumbled the football deep in the team’s territory. Luckily for Sparty, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio called the defense for offsides.
[TWELVE // a gopher (and big ten) greeting]
Finally this week, we welcome Norwood Teague to the Big Ten Conference as he was recommended last Monday as the new director of athletics at the University of Minnesota. Teague joins the Gopher family after overseeing an unprecedented run of success during his six years as the director of athletics at Virginia Commonwealth University. He replaces the retiring Joel Maturi, who has held the position for the past 10 years. For more on Teague’s hire, please click here.