This Week in the Big Ten
Dec. 14, 2007
by Jeff Smith
[ONE // the other buckeye futbol team] It's National Championship week for the Big Ten and the Ohio State men's soccer team is looking to move one step closer to its first national championship as the Buckeyes (16-3-5) will battle Massachusetts (17-7-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. ET in Cary, N.C. Ohio State earned the right to play in its first-ever College Cup after disposing of Bradley last weekend, 4-0, with all four goals coming in a 12-minute span. The Buckeyes enter Friday's game with an unbeaten streak of 14 (11-0-3), in which they have outscored seven national ranked opponents 21-7. With a win, OSU will face Virginia Tech (14-3-5) or Wake Forest (20-2-2) in a game to be aired live by ESPN2 on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
[TWO // penn state volleyball gets its chance too] Having swept conference foe Michigan and BYU last weekend, Penn State stormed into the NCAA volleyball national semifinals, which took place Thursday evening, or should we say early Friday morning. Due to the USC and Stanford extending its match to five games, the matchup between Cal and the Nittany Lions did not begin until 12:12 a.m. ET. With a 3-0 win over Cal, Penn State (33-2) will now face Stanford on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET after its 3-2 win over USC. Remarkably, the Nittany Lions are the only team in this year's bracket to have advanced without dropping a single game.
[THREE // roses are red...] Yet one Rose is blue. Perhaps Penn State head coach Russ Rose may have shown a little red blush in his face as the humble Nittany Lion mentor was selected as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2007 Division I National Coach of the Year on Thursday. During the AVCA Annual Convention luncheon, Rose was also inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame. Earlier this season, Rose joined UCLA's Andy Banachowski and Hawaii's Dave Shoji as the only coaches to eclipse the 900-career win plateau.
[FOUR // more big ten volleyball standouts honored] Eleven Big Ten volleyball players were named Wednesday to the AVCA All-American teams, including three Penn State first-teamers, which tied for the nation's best with Stanford. Penn State's Nicole Fawcett and Megan Hodge each earned their second straight first-team accolades, while Christa Harmotto, the conference's Player of the Year, earned her first. Teammate Alisha Glass received a spot on the second team, along with Wisconsin's Brittney Dolgner. The Badgers' Taylor Reineke and Michigan State's Ashley Schatzle made the third team, while honorable mention awards were given to Michigan's Katie Bruzdzinski and Lexi Zimmerman, Purdue's Stephanie Lynch, and Wisconsin's Jackie Simpson.
[FIVE // there's a new number one on the mat] This past Sunday saw a second Big Ten wrestling squad claim the nation's No. 1 ranking when Iowa knocked off top-ranked Iowa State, 20-13, in Ames. The Hawkeyes move to 5-0 with the win in front of a sold-out Hilton Coliseum of 8,998 fans. Iowa's Joe Slaton, ranked 20th heading into Sunday's match against No. 4 Nick Fanthorpe, claimed a 6-5 upset decision which earned him Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors.
[SIX // ten gridiron stars named ap all-america] Ten conference football stars were named to the Associated Press All-America teams on Wednesday, including four first-team selections, which tied for the second most in the country. First-team picks included Illinois guard Martin O'Donnell, Michigan tackle Jake Long, and linebackers James Laurinaitis of Ohio State and Dan Connor of Penn State. Second-team honorees consisted of Illinois linebacker J Leman, Indiana kicker Austin Starr, Michigan running back Mike Hart and wide receiver Mario Manningham, and Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins.
[SEVEN // dehaan good enough to start watching] Michigan State sophomore center Allyssa DeHaan has officially impressed some key voters already this season. On Tuesday the State Farm Wade Trophy Committee unanimously added DeHaan to the 2007-08 Watch List, which now consists of 26 players considered for the award given annually to the nation's top player. DeHaan, who is also just one of three sophomores on the list, is the nation's leading shot blocker, averaging 5.3 rejections per game. Her total of 193 career blocks is just one shy from tying the school record of 194 set by Kristen Rasmussen.
"I agree with the committee's decision to add Allyssa to the talented group of individuals in consideration for the 2008 State Farm Wade Trophy," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "To achieve such recognition as a sophomore is outstanding."
[EIGHT // time to start thinking baseball] Yes, it is December, but it is already time to start thinking baseball. Michigan junior Zach Putnam was named to the first-team utility position Thursday on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Preseason All-America squad. As a sophomore last year, Putnam hit .330 with eight home runs and 59 runs batted in. He also starred on the mound with an 8-5 record and a 3.87 earned run average as a starting pitcher. Last Friday Putnam was named to the 2008 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award Watch List, along with conference standouts Derek VanBuskirk of Michigan, Minnesota's Nate Hanson and Matt Nohelty, Northwestern's Jake Owens, Ohio State's Justin Miller, Penn State's Drew O'Neil and Purdue's Matt Bischoff and Ryne White.
[NINE // ring my bell] First-year Indiana head football coach Bill Lynch continued his season of firsts this past Wednesday in Times Square in New York. Lynch joined representatives from Insight Enterprises, Inc., the Insight Bowl and Oklahoma State, to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ Stock Market. The Hoosiers and Cowboys will battle in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 31.
[TEN // diving in] Indiana defeated Purdue to become eligible for the Insight Bowl, however the Boilermakers recently landed a Hoosier native from the national spotlight. Noblesville, Ind., resident David Boudia, the nation's top diving recruit, has signed on to compete for the Boilermakers and diving coach Adam Soldati. Recently bigten.org featured Soldati and the impressive job he has done with the Purdue squad and potential Olympians. Now he'll get his shot with Boudia, who is a four-time U.S. National Champion and a three-time U.S. Open National Champion on 3-meter springboard and platform.
"David is the No. 1 diving recruit in the country who is full of passion and drive to be the best," Soldati told purduesports.com. "He has his eyes set on Beijing in 2008 and we're honored to have him join our program."
[ELEVEN // alum success] From future student-athletes to former ones, Wisconsin boasted two Badger alums in the national scene this week. Former defender Aaron Holbein was named as the replacement to Eddie Gaven on the Under-23 men's soccer national team at the midfielder position. In addition, former UW football player and current Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas was nominated for the NFL's Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week. Fans can still vote for Thomas, or submit their ballot for former Ohio State and current Indianapolis Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who is also one of the five nominees.