May 1, 2011
[ONE // illini fight to capture men’s golf championship]
Illinois won the Big Ten Men's Golf Championships on Sunday, shooting a 7-under 281 to clinch its third-straight and 10th 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 tournament, outshooting the rest of the field by 19 strokes at 8-over par. After matching Illinois with a 7-under 281 in round four, Northwestern took second place at 27-over, followed by Iowa (+29) in third, Ohio State (+38) in fourth and Indiana (+40) in fifth. Illinois' Luke Guthrie won the championships' individual medal, shooting a 2-under 70 in the final round to close the tournament at 1-under. Guthrie is the first Illini to earn medalist honors since Larry Nuger tied for first place in 1999. The conference also announced the All-Championships Team and Les Bolstad Award winner following the conclusion of the tournament. For complete results and a look at all postseason award winners, click here.
[TWO // ohio state continues men’s tennis streak]
Top-seeded Ohio State won its sixth-straight Big Ten Men's Tennis Tournament title on Sunday, earning a 4-0 win over No. 3 Minnesota to clinch the tournament crown and earn the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. The Buckeyes did not give up a point in their three tournament matches, picking up three consecutive 4-0 wins en route to the crown. Third-seeded Minnesota had defeated No. 2 Indiana, 4-0, on Saturday to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship match. Click here for a complete breakdown of the tournament’s matches.
[THREE // lucky 13… northwestern women’s tennis wins again]
Northwestern won its 13th-straight Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament in dramatic fashion on Sunday, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat top-seeded Michigan, 4-3. The second-seeded Wildcats earned the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships with the win. The championship match began with a battle in doubles, as the teams split matches at Nos. 2 and 3 before Michigan took a 9-7 decision at No. 1 to claim the point. The Wolverines extended their lead to 3-0 with wins by Whitney Taney at No. 3 and Rika Tatsuno at No. 5 before the Wildcats began their 4-0 run. Linda Abu Mushrefova picked up the first Northwestern win at No. 6, while Kate Turvy followed at No. 4. Maria Mosolova and Belinda Niu then earned three-set victories at Nos. 1 and 2 to clinch the match and the title for the Wildcats.
[FOUR // buckeyes sweep men’s tennis awards]
The Big Ten men's tennis All-Conference teams and individual awards were announced on Thursday night at the Big Ten Tournament banquet, with conference champion Ohio State sweeping the individual awards. Buckeye junior Chase Buchanan was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year, while Blaz Rola earned Freshman of the Year honors and Ty Tucker picked up Coach of the Year laurels. First and second-team All-Big Ten selections were also announced, as well as 11 Sportsmanship Award honorees. Click here to read more about the individual award winners and to see the All-Big Ten teams.
[FIVE // another sweep! michigan claims women’s tennis awards]
The Big Ten announced this past Thursday its women's tennis All-Conference teams and individual award winners at the conference tournament banquet. After winning its second-straight and third overall regular-season Big Ten Championship, Michigan swept the individual awards as Denise Muresan was named Athlete of the Year, Brooke Bolender earned Freshman of the Year honors and Ronni Bernstein picked up Coach of the Year laurels. In addition, first and second team All-Conference awards were distributed, while 11 Sportsmanship Award honorees were also recognized. Click here to read more on the individual award winners and to see the All-Big Ten teams.
[SIX // big ten announces women’s golf honors]
The Big Ten Conference announced on Tuesday the women's golf All-Conference teams and individual award winners. Purdue's Numa Gulyanamitta earned the Big Ten Player of the Year award, while Indiana's Lindsay Gahm took home Freshman of the Year accolades and Northwestern's Emily Fletcher and Wisconsin's Todd Oehrlein earned Co-Coach of the Year honors. The All-Big Ten first team features conference champion Michigan State's Aimee Neff and Caroline Powers, Northwestern's Lauren Weaver and Purdue's Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, Gulyanamitta and Paula Reto. Also earning All-Conference honors were Indiana's Gahm, Michigan State's Lindsey Solberg, Ohio State's Rachel Rohanna and Vicky Villanueva and Purdue's Thea Hoffmeister and Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, who each received second-team accolades. In addition, the Big Ten also recognized 11 Sportsmanship Award honorees. Click here to see those honorees and all postseason award winners.
[SEVEN // eight teams, one individual invited to ncaa golf regionals]
The Big Ten will be well-represented at the 2011 NCAA Women's Golf Regionals, as eight conference teams and one individual golfer have earned spots in the field. The regional field is divided among three sites, with 24 teams and six individuals competing in each on May 5-7. Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each regional to the NCAA Championships. Big Ten Champion Michigan State and Purdue will head to the East Regional in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the Boilermakers enter as the No. 2 seed in the regional and the Spartans hold the No. 6 seed in the 24-team field. Six Big Ten teams and one individual will compete in the Central Regional in Notre Dame, Ind., headlined by No. 10 seed Ohio State. Northwestern holds the No. 13 seed at the regional, while Minnesota has earned the No. 14 seed. Wisconsin enters as the No. 18 seed, and Michigan and Illinois round out the Big Ten contingent at Nos. 20 and 21, respectively. Indiana's Lindsay Gahm will compete individually in the regional. The 2011 NCAA Women's Golf Championships will be held May 18-21 at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas, and will be hosted by Texas A&M University.
[EIGHT // nearly 30 football standouts selected in nfl draft]
The 2011 NFL Draft concluded over the weekend with 29 former Big Ten student-athletes being selected. Six conference football players were drafted in the first round, led by Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt at No. 11 by the Houston Texans. Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan (16th, Washington), Illinois’ Corey Liuget (18th, San Diego) and Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn (20th, Tampa Bay) followed in the top 20. For a complete look at the Big Ten’s 29 selections, follow this link to the conference’s NFL Draft Central.
[NINE // spartans conclude football practice with spring game]
Trick plays, weird formations and a ringer from the basketball team were no match for the smooth efficiency of Kirk Cousins. Cousins went 22 of 29 for 285 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Green team to a 24-10 win over the White team in Michigan State's spring game on Saturday. The White team pulled out all the stops -- even lining basketball player Draymond Green up at wide receiver at one point -- but Cousins was too sharp. His team never trailed. The Spartans' spring contest concluded the slate of Big Ten games this spring. Click here to read Michigan State's complete recap. And with all 12 spring games in the book, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith of the Big Ten Network gave their predictions for the division winners.
[TEN // northwestern softball standout earns national honors]
Two weeks and two national player of the week honors for Big Ten student-athletes. On Tuesday, reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Adrienne Monka of Northwestern was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Player of the Week. Monka hit 1.000 from the plate, recorded a 1.000 on-base percentage and drove in seven runs, helping the Wildcats to a weekend sweep of Ohio State. In the series opener on Saturday, the junior hit a three-run home run in the second inning followed by a two-run double in the fourth, giving her five RBI for the day. After two intentional walks to start the game last Sunday, Monka singled home two runs as Northwestern completed the sweep. She slugged 2.333 on the week to combine for an OPS of 3.333. It is the fourth weekly honor of her career and first this season. Two weeks ago, Indiana's Morgan Melloh was named USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week.
[ELEVEN // we are… there in a time of need]
Finally, heart-warming news out of State College, as our Penn State Nittany Lions are roaring with support for the University of Alabama family, which was ravaged by tornadoes over the past week. But perhaps what is most rewarding is that a donation drive has been started by fans, primarily bloggers, of the Nittany Lions, who simply want to help. As noted on VictoryBellRings.com, “Last year when Penn State and Alabama met up in sunny Tuscaloosa, Alabama fans went out of their way time and time again to make Penn State fans feel at home and part of a tradition and rivalry bigger than the game. While sports may divide us on the weekend, this is a chance to extend a hand and repay a fanbase that has been more than gracious to us. At the end of the day, our humanity is more important than our Alma mater.” Powerful words put forth by a powerful and generous fan base. Simply put by NittanyWhiteOut, ”Alabama needs our help”. Job well done!