This Week in the Big Ten

Ohio State was one of six B1G men's tennis teams selected to the NCAA Championship field this past week.

May 6, 2013

[ONE // wolverine women claim softball crown]
The Michigan softball team (44-9, 20-2 Big Ten) secured the outright Big Ten Championship and the No. 1 overall seed in the 2013 Big Ten Softball Tournament with its 2-1 victory over Northwestern on Friday. The victory secured the 16th conference championship in program history and sixth consecutive crown.  The Wolverines went on to rack up two more wins over the Wildcats, including a 9-3 victory on Senior Day on Sunday.  Michigan will next play in the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed in Lincoln, Neb.  U-M's first game will be Friday, May 10, against the winner of the No. 8 and No. 9 seed game. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT.

[TWO // gophers remain on top of baseball standings]
As the plot thickens on the Big Ten baseball season, so too does the conference standings as now just one game separates the top three teams.  Minnesota remains atop the league at 11-4 (.733) in conference play, while Indiana (12-5) and Nebraska (12-5) are tied one game back in second with a winning percentage of .706.  The Hoosiers and Huskers squared off against one another in Lincoln, Neb., over the weekend, with both teams earning a win in the series.  IU rallied from behind on Saturday to notch an 8-6 win, while Nebraska responded with a 3-2 victory over the 16th-ranked Hoosiers on Sunday.  The Gophers kept their distance on the field early in the weekend by topping Penn State, 11-2 and 7-3.  The Nittany Lions, however, roared back Sunday to stun Minnesota in 10 innings, 4-3, which brought the Gophers back closer to Hoosiers and Huskers in the race for the Big Ten title.

[THREE // gopher great in the classroom]
Minnesota senior outfielder Troy Larson has been named first-team Academic All-District honorees, it was announced on Thursday afternoon by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The distinction makes Larson eligible for Academic All-America accolades, which will be announced later this month.

[FOUR // softball names seven to all-district squads]
Seven Big Ten standouts were named first- or second-team Academic All-District honorees, it was announced on Thursday afternoon by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Four players were awarded first-team distinction, making them eligible for Academic All-America accolades, which will be announced later this month. Northwestern's Marisa Bast and Purdue's Andie Varsho were named first-team honorees in District 5, while Minnesota's Kaitlyn Richardson and Wisconsin's Mary Massei were selected to the District 6 first team. Earning second-team honors in District 5 included Indiana's Amanda Wagner, Michigan's Sara Driesenga and Purdue's Erika Petruzzi.

[FIVE // nothing small about illinois’ dominance in men’s golf]
The Big Ten announced this past Wednesday the men’s golf All-Conference teams and individual award winners with Illinois’ Thomas Pieters taking home the Big Ten Player of the Year award. Teammate Thomas Detry was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, while Illini head coach Mike Small was tabbed Coach of the Year.  Pieters claimed individual medalist honors at the Big Ten Championships, leading Illinois to its fifth conference title, posting a 4-under 284 over 72 holes. Pieters is the third Illinois golfer in the last four years to win the award, joinging Scott Langley (2010) and Luke Guthrie (2012). Detry is the fourth Illinois newcomer to claim Freshman of the Year honors and the first since Langley in 2008. The Brussels, Belgium, native posted a 72.24 rating through nine tournaments this season and finished tied for eighth at the Big Ten Championships. Small earns his fifth straight Coach of the Year award and the sixth of his career after leading the Illini to their fifth consecutive and 12th overall Big Ten title. The conference also announced its All-Big Ten teams, with Illinois’ Pieters, Indiana’s Brant Peaper, Iowa’s Steven Ihm, Northwestern’s Nicholas Losole and Jack Perry and Purdue’s Adam Schenk earning first-team honors. Illinois’ Brian Campbell and Detry, Iowa’s Joseph Winslow, Michigan State’s Matthew Moseley, Minnesota’s Erik Van Rooyen and Ohio State’s Boo Timko claimed second-team honors.

[SIX // michigan state, northwestern garner women’s golf honors]
The Big Ten announced this past Tuesday the women’s golf All-Conference teams and individual award winners. Michigan State’s Caroline Powers earned the Big Ten Player of the Year award, Northwestern’s Kaitlin Park took home Freshman of the Year accolades and the Wildcats’ Emily Fletcher earned Coach of the Year honors.  Powers posted a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, finishing with a 3-over 219 during the event. Powers finished with the highest Sagarin rating of all Big Ten players (72.11) and is the third Michigan State golfer to be named Player of the Year, joining Laura Kueny (2010) and Emily Bastel (2002). Park collected Freshman of the Year honors after closing out the season with the highest Sagarin rating among Big Ten newcomers at 73.83, good for sixth in the conference. Park recorded a sixth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and becomes the second Wildcat to be named Freshman of the Year, joining Alice Kim, who won the honor in 2004.  Fletcher earned her second Coach of the Year honor in three seasons after leading the Wildcats to their first Big Ten Championships crown. The All-Big Ten first team featured Michigan State’s Powers, Northwestern’s Hana Lee and Park, Ohio State’s Amy Meier and Purdue’s Laura Gonzalez-Escallon and Paula Reto. Also earning All-Conference honors were Michigan State’s Allyssa Ferrell and Christine Meier, Purdue’s Aurora Kan, Kishi Sinha and Margaux Vanmol and Wisconsin’s Kris Yoo, who each received second-team honors.

[SEVEN // ncaa men’s tennis berths announced]
Six Big Ten men's tennis teams have been selected to the NCAA Championships, the selection committee announced last Tuesday. Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State have each earned berths to the national tournament, which gets underway on May 10th at campus sites. The Buckeyes received an automatic bid to the championships after winning the Big Ten Tournament while the other five teams earned at-large bids.  Additionally, five Big Ten singles players and three conference doubles pairs have been selected to the NCAA Championships, the selection committee announced on Wednesday. Fourteen automatic qualifiers and 50 at-large selections make up the singles field, while 14 automatic berths and 18 at-large selections comprise the doubles field.

[EIGHT // women’s tennis also prepping for ncaa action]
Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue will represent the Big Ten at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship, it was announced this past Tuesday. The selections mark the third time in the last four years the conference has boasted at least five teams in the tournament.   Additionally, four Big Ten singles players and six doubles duos have been selected to the 2013 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships, as announced on Wednesday. Michigan and Northwestern will each send three players to the championships, while Illinois, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue will all have two student-athletes competing. 

[NINE // now on the regional tee…]
Seven Big Ten teams earned spots in the 2013 NCAA Women’s Golf Regionals, it was announced on Monday night. The regional field is divided among three sites, with 24 teams and six individuals competing at each site on May 9-11. Eight teams and two individuals will advance from each regional to the NCAA Championships.  Northwestern and Penn State will head to the East Regional in Auburn, Ala., where the Wildcats enter as the No. 10 seed, and the Nittany Lions hold the No. 16 seed in the 24-team field.  Three Big Ten teams will compete in the Central Regional in Norman, Okla. Michigan State holds the No. 9 seed at the regional, while Indiana earned the No. 17 seed and Wisconsin is seeded 20th.  Purdue and Ohio State will travel to the West Regional in Palo Alto, Calif. The Boilermakers are the No. 4 seed, while Ohio State is the No. 13 seed.  The 2013 NCAA Women's Golf Championships will be held May 21-24 at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Ga.

[TEN // ready for prime time]
Big Ten institutions released game times and television plans this past Monday for six home football contests to appear in prime time on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 during the 2013 season. Ohio State leads the way with three night games on those networks, while Michigan and Penn State each boast a pair of prime time matchups. Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin will each take part in one night contest on those networks. Additional prime time football games will be announced next week.

[ELEVEN // closing the book on hoops and gymnastics]
This past week the Big Ten officially closed the book on the men’s basketball and men’s and women’s gymnastics seasons by posting Season in Review features.  In men’s basketball, seven Big Ten teams were selected to participate in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, tied for the most in conference history, with Michigan advancing to the national championship game.  In men’s gymnastics, the Big Ten season came to a close at the NCAA Championships, where Michigan claimed the team crown and five out of the six individual titles where claimed by conference student-athletes.  On the women’s side, three conference teams advanced to the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championship, while six individuals competed at the national meet in April to complete the 2013 season.

[TWELVE // not a bad winter…]
Finally this week, Big Ten schools enjoyed considerable success during the winter sports season, as highlighted in a comprehensive recap posted last Tuesday.  All totaled, the Big Ten garnered five national championships, including Nebraska bowling, Michigan men’s gymnastics, Michigan men’s swimming and diving, Minnesota women’s ice hockey and Penn State wrestling. The winter season also featured a runner-up finish by Michigan men’s basketball and a third-place effort by Wisconsin men’s indoor track and field.