May 10, 2009
[ONE // michigan softball claims another big ten championship]
Congratulations to the Michigan Wolverines for capturing the outright Big Ten softball championship this past Friday with an 8-2 decision over intrastate rival Michigan State. The conference title is the 12th overall for the Wolverines and the second in as many years. All 12 titles have come over the last 18 seasons and Michigan has repeated as the Big Ten champion six times. And while U-M topped Michigan State for the title, the Spartans rebounded this past Saturday with a 2-1 win over the No. 8 Wolverines, which ended their 21-game winning streak. Michigan finished the regular season 41-10.
[TWO // broken records and milestones highlight final softball weekend]
Speaking of softball, we saw a pair of impressive performances this past weekend that involved a pair of Iowa Hawkeyes and one Ohio State slugger. Iowa senior Brittany Weil became the Hawkeyes’ single-season strikeout leader and head coach Gayle Blevins moved into second place on the NCAA Division I softball wins list when Iowa swept Minnesota, 2-0 and 3-0, on Saturday. Weil added yet another record to her already impressive playing resume, shattering Lisa Birocci's previous record of 313 single-season strikeouts. In addition, she moved into a tie for first place in career wins (99), complete games (109) and games pitched (181) at Iowa. In Columbus, Mader broke the Ohio State softball career homerun record with her 42nd overall and 17th this season as the No. 11-ranked Buckeyes swept Penn State, 6-0 and 2-0, on Saturday.
[THREE // six teams named to ncaa softball championship]
Six Big Ten softball teams earned bids to the NCAA Championship Sunday night, and a pair of conference squads learned they will serve as host. No. 5 Michigan (41-10), the Big Ten Champion, will face Miami (OH) (32-22) in the Ann Arbor Regional on May 15, while No. 11 Ohio State (44-9) will host Canisius (27-22) in the Columbus Regional. Northwestern (31-13) earned the 12th seed and will face Texas State (39-16) in the Waco Regional. Purdue (29-18) will travel to Louisville, Ky., for a matchup with the hometown Cardinals (47-9) and Illinois (29-15) will also face an away game at Missouri (45-9) in the Columbia Regional. Iowa (42-14) will open first-round action in the Atlanta Regional against Auburn (29-27).
[FOUR // illini and buckeye men’s tennis squads surge into round of 16]
Illinois and Ohio State have advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship. The third-seeded Buckeyes emerged from the regional bracket with a 4-1 win over No. 35 Michigan on Saturday to improve their win streak to 25-consecutive matches and earn their sixth Round of 16 bid. No. 13 Illinois advanced to the Sweet 16 for the eighth consecutive season with a come-from-behind 4-1 victory over No. 21 Louisville in front of a home crowd in Champaign. In addition to Michigan dropping out of the tournament, Minnesota fell 4-0 to eighth-seeded Southern California in second-round action, ending its season with a 19-8 overall record. Other first-round action included Wisconsin falling 4-3 to Louisville and Wake Forest defeating Northwestern, 4-0.
[FIVE // northwestern women advance as well]
On the women’s tennis side, top-ranked Northwestern advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the sixth consecutive time with a 4-1 win over No. 26 Kentucky Saturday. Illinois, which captured a thrilling 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday, dropped a heartbreaker by the same count to Fresno State on Sunday. Michigan ended its NCAA Championship run with a 4-1 loss to fifth-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon.
[SIX // trio of women’s golf teams advance to ncaa championships]
Three Big Ten women’s golf squads advanced to the NCAA Championships after finishing within the top eight at the Central Regional. Purdue fronted all conference programs, placing second with a score of 896 (+32). Michigan State was next in fifth place tallying a 54-hole total of 906 (+41), followed by Ohio State in the seventh spot with a score of 917 (+53). NCAA Championships action will commence on May 19-22 at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md.
[SEVEN // nine conference men’s golf teams invited to ncaa regional play]
Nine Big Ten men’s golf teams learned Monday that their seasons had been extended to NCAA regional play. Of the 54 teams and 30 individuals set to play in the six regional competitions, nine teams and two individuals are set for postseason action May 14-16. Playing at the Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway, N.J., Big Ten Champion Illinois earned the No. 3 seed, while Penn State and Minnesota posted the 10th and 11th seeds, respectively. Wisconsin’s Dan Woltman will also compete as an individual. No. 8 Michigan will battle at the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, while No. 2 seed Indiana and No. 11 Iowa will play at the Red Tail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla. No. 9 Ohio State and Purdue’s Tyler Duncan will take to The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., and No. 7 Michigan State and No. 9 Northwestern will tee it up at the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
[EIGHT // conference office announces award winner for men’s golf]
Two days after Illinois earned its first Big Ten title in 21 years, the 11 conference coaches selected 12 student-athletes for All-Conference honors Tuesday, with two individuals and one coach earning special recognition. Indiana senior Jorge Campillo was named the conference’s Player of the Year, while Fighting Illini mentor Mike Small was recognized by his peers as Coach of the Year. Northwestern’s Eric Chun was honored by the coaches as Freshman of the Year. In addition, 11 honorees were also chosen for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. For a complete breakdown of these awards and the All-Big Ten teams, click here.
[NINE // hoosier golfer one step to closer to national award]
And speaking of Indiana’s Jorge Campillo, the Big Ten Player of the Year was officially named Thursday as one of three finalists for the 2009 Ben Hogan Award, given to the top men's college golfer in the country. Campillo will be joined by fellow finalists Rickie Fowler of Oklahoma State and Clemson's Kyle Stanley in Fort Worth, Texas on May 22 for the Ben Hogan Award presentation, which will be broadcast live on GolfweekTV beginning at 9:15 EST.
[TEN // time for another basketball challenge]
The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten announced Tuesday the pairings for the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge for women’s basketball, which is in its third year of a four-year agreement. The 2009 Challenge, which will take on a two-day format this year, will open on Wednesday, Dec. 2, as Wake Forest hosts Illinois, Boston College travels to Iowa, and Georgia Tech takes on Penn State. The Big Ten/ACC Women’s Basketball Challenge matches 11 teams from each conference in head-to-head competition traditionally on the first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after Thanksgiving, following the men’s basketball Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Last year, the ACC won seven of the 11 Big Ten/ACC Challenge games, while the inaugural Challenge in 2007 saw the ACC collect eight victories.
[ELEVEN // michigan state’s izzo goes to broadway]
Finally this week, while we are on the topic of basketball, kudos to Michigan State men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo for his efforts on Broadway. This past Wednesday, the popular Spartan mentor took to the Wharton Center Cobb Great Hall stage for Izzo Goes To Broadway, which was written exclusively as a mini-Broadway show telling the story of Coach Izzo's journey from high school to Michigan State to making it to the top on Broadway. The performance, which raised $100,000 for Coaches for Cancer, featured music from several Broadway standards, including 42nd Street, Cats, Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera and A Chorus Line as sung by professional Broadway performers. For a closer look at Izzo’s performance, check out this Big Ten Network recap.