Aug. 28, 2011
[ONE // stay classy, part one]
We open the week with honoring leaders in the classroom and the community. The Big Ten leads all conferences with eight football candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, given annually to a senior with notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The Big Ten's eight nominees are twice as many as any other conference. Big Ten candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award are Illinois' Jeff Allen, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, Nebraska's Jared Crick, Northwestern's Dan Persa, Ohio State's Michael Brewster, Penn State's Nate Stupar, Purdue's Joe Holland and Wisconsin's Aaron Henry. The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award was first presented in the sport of football in 2008 with the Buckeyes' James Laurinaitis earning the honor. The Nittany Lions' Stefen Wisniewski was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award last season. The 30 candidates for the 2011 laurel will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season.
[TWO // stay classy, part two]
Speaking of CLASSy candidates, volleyball standouts Alex Hunt of Michigan and Jenilee Rathje of Michigan State were selected as candidates for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award this past Thursday. Thirty student-athletes were tabbed candidates for the award, which will be announced during the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Championship on December 15 and 17 in San Antonio. The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the season. The 10 finalists will be placed on an official ballot, which will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans who will select one student-athlete for the award.
[THREE // at the net]
The 2011 Big Ten women’s volleyball season got served up this week with all 12 conference teams taking part in their first action of the year. Seven teams got off to an undefeated start in impressive fashion, combining for a 63-4 record in 21 games. The No. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes opened 4-0, while No. 8 Illinois, No. 13 Purdue, No. 24 Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern all started 3-0. Fifth-ranked Nebraska, competing for the first time under the Big Ten banner, went 2-0 on the weekend. Two ranked conference teams splits their two matches on the week. No. 1 Penn State fell 3-1 to Oregon on Friday, but rallied to top second-ranked USC 3-2 on Saturday. No. 12 Minnesota fell to USC on Friday in a five-game thriller and then responded with a 3-2 win over Oregon on Saturday. Three teams – Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin – each concluded the weekend 1-2.
[FOUR // week two on the pitch]
Week two of the Big Ten women’s soccer season saw yet another impressive performance by conference squads. Of the 22 games, Big Ten teams posted a combined 14-8 record, with six squads capturing wins in each of their games. No. 19 Illinois earned a 5-0 victory over Ball State and a 2-1 overtime win over Louisville, while Iowa topped Western Illinois 6-1, and Michigan and Michigan State both beat DePaul and Duquesne on the weekend. Penn State defeated West Virginia and Richmond by a combined score of 8-0 and Wisconsin took a 2-1 victory over No. 23 Washington and a 1-0 shutout over Green Bay. Splitting contests this past week were Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State, while Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue fell in each contest they played.
[FIVE // hoosiers top big ten men’s soccer poll]
The Big Ten announced its 2011 men's soccer preseason coaches' poll and players to watch list last Tuesday, with defending champion Indiana earning top honors among the seven conference teams. The Hoosiers entered the season as the conference favorites after winning their 12th Big Ten title in 2010. Indiana compiled a 4-1-1 record in Big Ten play last season en route to the conference crown. Ohio State checked in at No. 2 in the poll matching their finish from a year ago. Penn State followed at No. 3, jumping up a spot from last year's fourth place campaign. Michigan, after winning its first Big Ten Tournament title and advancing to last year's NCAA College Cup semifinals, clocked in at No. 4. Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin rounded out the poll. The complete preseason coaches' poll, along with the preseason players to watch list, can be found by clicking here.
[SIX // getting their kicks]
Speaking of men’s soccer, the 2011 season kicked off this past week with Penn State and Wisconsin carrying the banner for the Big Ten. The 18th-ranked Nittany Lions blanked Siena 1-0, while the Badgers shut out Western Illinois by the same score. No. 15 Ohio State battled American to a 1-1 double-overtime tie, while No. 17 Indiana took No. 12 Notre Dame the distance before settling for a double-overtime 0-0 deadlock. Michigan State and Northwestern both suffered overtime losses this past week to Detroit Mercy and Eastern Illinois, respectively, while Michigan fell to both Bowling Green and Kentucky.
[SEVEN // field hockey nationally ranked]
Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State have each earned top-25 consideration in the preseason 2011 Kookabarra/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll, as announced this past Tuesday. After earning a share of the Big Ten title, and advancing to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship National Semifinal last year for the first time in program history, the Buckeyes began the 2011 campaign ranked No. 8 in the country. After receiving an at-large bid in last years national field hockey tournament, Penn State clocked in at No. 8 with Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan right behind them at No. 9. Michigan State rounded out the foursome coming in ranked 13th in the country.
[EIGHT // watch these women]
The Big Ten announced its 2011 field hockey players to watch list this past Wednesday, highlighted by defending Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Chelsea Armstrong of Northwestern and the last two Big Ten Freshman of the Year honorees in the Ohio State pair of Berta Queralt and Paula Pastor-Pitarque. Three All-Big Ten first-team selections from last season are on the watch list - Armstrong, Queralt and Indiana's Brenna Moeljadi. The complete list of field hockey players to watch for the 2011 season can be found by clicking here.
[NINE // let’s get it started]
All seven Big Ten field hockey teams squared off in the first official action of the 2011 season this past weekend, with some teams battling in ACC/Big Ten Challenge play. Of the 14 games, the conference contingent split the schedule 7-7, with the marquee victories coming from unranked Indiana topping No. 15 Duke 3-2 in overtime and No. 8 Penn State blanking third-ranked Virginia, 3-0. The Hoosiers captured both of their games last weekend, as did Northwestern with 4-0 shutouts over Kent State and Miami (Ohio). Iowa earned a 3-2 win over No. 11 Wake Forest, but fell 2-0 to No. 2 North Carolina. The Tar Heels also blanked No. 9 Michigan 5-0, however the Wolverines rebounded to top Wake Forest 2-1. Prior to its victory over Virginia, the Nittany Lions dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 12 Old Dominion, while Michigan State and Ohio State dropped both of their matchups on the week.
[TEN // women’s wade watch]
A pair of Big Ten standouts appeared on the 2011-12 preseason Wade Trophy watch list, it was announced this past week by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. The award, now in its 35th year, is given annually to the Division I Player of the Year. Iowa's Jaime Printy and Penn State's Alex Bentley earned spots on this year's preseason list. Printy and Bentley were All-Big Ten members and led their teams to the NCAA tournament a year ago. Printy and Bentley, both juniors, are among the 11-underclassmen on the list, which is dominated by 14 seniors. The winner of the 2012 Wade Award will be announced during the WBCA National Convention, which will be held in conjunction with the 2012 NCAA Women's Final Four in Denver.
[ELEVEN // solid gold, baby!]
The Big Ten leads all conferences with seven players on Dick Vitale's All-Solid Gold Teams, which was released this past week. The Big Ten is the only conference with multiple first-team selections - Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor. Vitale's other Big Ten selections are Ohio State's William Buford and Purdue's Robbie Hummel on the third team; Michigan's Tim Hardaway and Michigan State's Draymond Green on the fourth team; and Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe on the fifth team.
[TWELVE // big ten contingent paces team usa]
Finally this week, we stick with men’s hoops as Big Ten action at the World University Games ended this past Monday. Purdue head coach Matt Painter led Team USA to a fifth-place finish and a 7-1 record in Shenzhen, China, concluding with an 86-83 win over Germany on Monday. Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe recorded 21 points and eight rebounds in the final game, averaging 11.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game during the tournament. Michigan State's Draymond Green posted tournament averages of 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds over the eight games.