This Week in the Big Ten

May 14, 2018

[ONE // gophers garner third straight softball title; five teams ncaa bound]
The second-seeded Minnesota softball team won its third straight Big Ten Tournament Championship, fourth in five years, and fifth in school history on Sunday with a 9-6 win over No. 4 seed Northwestern in the title game at Wisconsin's Goodman Diamond. Tournament Most Outstanding Player Maddie Houlihan went 7-for-9 in the Tournament with five runs batted in while scoring four runs. In the title game, she went 2-for-2 with a triple, single, two walks, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. A total of 12 individuals were named to the All-Tournament Team, which can be found here. With the victory, Minnesota earned the Big Ten's automatic berth into this year's NCAA Tournament. The 64-team NCAA Tournament field announced Sunday features four additional league squads, including Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The bracket is divided into 16, four-team double-elimination regionals, which begin Thursday. The 16 regional winners advance to best-of-three super regionals (to be played May 24-27 on the campus of the higher-seeded school), with the eight remaining schools competing May 31-June 6 at the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

[TWO // handing out the hardware]
The Big Ten announced the 2018 All-Big Ten Softball Teams and individual awards this past Wednesday, with Big Ten Champion Michigan earning three of the four individual accolades through a vote of the conference’s 14 head coaches. Minnesota sophomore catcher Kendyl Lindaman was selected as the Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, while Michigan’s Meghan Beaubien was chosen as the Pitcher and Freshman of the Year (receiving the latter award unanimously), and the Wolverines’ Carol Hutchins earned Coach of the Year honors. Eighteen students were named second-team All-Big Ten honorees, while nine students were voted to the conference’s All-Defensive Team and 11 chosen for the inaugural Big Ten All-Freshman Team, including Beaubien, who was a unanimous selection. The Big Ten also announced the 14 Sportsmanship Award honorees from each institution. 

[THREE // buckeye men, gopher women right on track]
Congratulations to the Ohio State men’s and Minnesota women’s outdoor track and field teams on winning the 2018 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. on Sunday. The Gophers claimed two individual titles en route to their second Big Ten Championships title in program history and the first since 2006. Minnesota recorded 134 team points, while Purdue finished in second place with 132 points. Iowa finished third with 96 points, while Indiana finished fourth with 87 points. Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin finished tied for fifth with 60 points. On the men’s side, the Buckeyes claimed two individual titles en route to their fifth Big Ten Championships title in program history and the first since 1993. Ohio State recorded 109 team points, while Indiana finished in second place with 88 points. Nebraska finished third with 85 points, Michigan finished fourth with 84 points and Penn State followed with 83 points in fifth place.

[FOUR // buckeye boats do it again]
Ohio State won its sixth consecutive Big Ten title, and ninth overall, at the 2018 Big Ten Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis on Sunday. The Buckeyes recorded a perfect 192 team points, marking the first time a school has won all seven races since the current scoring format was introduced in 2013. Michigan followed in second place with 163 points, Wisconsin finished third (118), Iowa claimed fourth (111), while Indiana rounded out the top five with 92 points. Complete team results and the All-Big Ten teams can be by clicking here.

[FIVE // pair of men’s lacrosse squads earn wins in ncaa tournament action]
Johns Hopkins and Maryland were selected to the 2018 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament, as announced on the NCAA Selection Show this past week and took care of their first-round opponents on Sunday. Maryland earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season after posting a 12-3 record, including a 4-1 Big Ten slate. The Terrapins earned the outright Big Ten Championship for the fourth consecutive season, while Johns Hopkins earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament after finishing the regular season with an 11-4 record, including a 3-2 mark in Big Ten play. This past Sunday, Maryland defeated Robert Morris 14-11, while Johns Hopkins edged out Georgetown in overtime, 10-9. 

[SIX // half of the big ten’s women’s lacrosse contingent still alive in ncaa play]
Four Big Ten teams were selected to the 2018 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament, as announced on the NCAA Selection Show last Sunday night. Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Northwestern and Penn State were chosen to represent the conference in this year's bracket, with the Terrapins earning the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.  Johns Hopkins made the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time and first since 2016, while Maryland received a bye in the opening round. Penn State made its 24th trip to the NCAA Tournament and secured its seventh straight appearance. Northwestern earned its 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 15th consecutive trip. In Friday’s opening round action, Northwestern outlasted Richmond, 24-18, while Navy topped Johns Hopkins 16-9 and Penn edged out Penn State, 15-14. On Sunday, Northwestern returned to its winning ways with a 21-17 victory over Towson, and top-seeded Maryland rolled Denver, 15-4.

[SEVEN // big ten, regional awards announced for women’s lacrosse]
Following the conclusion of the Big Ten Women’s Lacrosse Tournament, the conference office this past Monday announced the 2018 All-Big Ten individual honors. Big Ten Champion and Tournament Champion Maryland earned five awards, with Megan Whittle claimed Attacker of the Year honors, Julia Braig earned Defender of the Year accolades, for the third consecutive year Megan Taylor tabbed Goaltender of the Year, Grace Griffin named Freshman of the Year, and head coach Cathy Reese claimed Coach of the Year honors for the third season in a row. Penn State’s Katie O’Donnell was named the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year. In addition to Big Ten honors, 15 conference standouts earned All-Region honors from the IWLCA this past week, including 11 first-teamers. The All-Region selections are now eligible to be named to a national IWLCA All-American team. The IWLCA will celebrate the 2018 All-Americans during Divisional All-American Announcement Shows, which will be launched online in mid-June. 

[EIGHT // pair of teams and individuals advance to ncaa women’s golf championships]
Two teams and two individuals secured berths to the 2018 NCAA Women's Golf Championships after advancing from the regional round. Northwestern and Ohio State advanced from the Madison Regional. Northwestern wrapped up the Madison Regional with a team score of 863 (294-283-286), tying for fourth place with Ohio State (863; 293-284-286). The Wildcats will make their sixth straight NCAA Championships appearance and seventh overall, while the Buckeyes will make their conference-best 21st NCAA Championships appearance and second straight. Individually, Wisconsin’s Gabby Curtis finished in a fourth-place tie after completing the Madison Regional with a seven-under par 209 (67-74-68), while Indiana’s Erin Harper tied for seventh (-3; 213). The NCAA Championships will be held May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. The final three days of competition will be televised live by the Golf Channel.

[NINE // northwestern tennis maintains momentum in ncaa tournament]
Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern and Ohio State took to the courts this past week to represent the Big Ten at the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship. In first round action on Friday, Illinois beat Princeton 4-3, Michigan blanked Hawaii 4-0, No. 14 Northwestern shut out Buffalo 4-0, while Ohio State fell to Clemson, 4-1. On Saturday, the Wildcats were the lone team to survive as they dismissed Kansas State, 4-0. Elsewhere in the second round, Illinois fell 4-2 to Texas Tech and Michigan was blanked 4-0 at Stanford. For a complete look at the winning teams and individuals, click here.

[TEN // news and notes from around the league]
Finally this week, the Big Ten office announced its annual postgraduate scholarship recipients on Thursday. Two students competing in intercollegiate athletics from each of the 14 Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education at a graduate degree program were each awarded a $7,500 scholarship, based on primarily academic achievements. Elsewhere, Northwestern named three-time Mountain West Coach of the Year Jeremy Kipp as its Director of Swimming & Diving, Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Jim Phillips announced Friday. In track and field, SPIRE Institute, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and the Big Ten have extended their agreement to hold the Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships at SPIRE Institute in 2020. On the diamond, four baseball standouts and five softball stars were named this past week to their respective Academic All-District teams.