This Week in the Big Ten

Penn State's Russ Rose was named AVCA National Coach of the Year this past week prior to leading his Nittany Lions to the NCAA Championship.

Dec. 23, 2013

[ONE // penn state earns ncaa volleyball title in all-big ten final]
With its 3-1 (25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23) win over 12th-seeded Wisconsin on Saturday night at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash., second-seeded Penn State earned the 2013 NCAA Volleyball Championship – the Nittany Lions’ fifth title in the last seven years and sixth overall. The sixth crown ties Stanford for the most national titles in NCAA history. The Penn State-Wisconsin match-up marked the first time two Big Ten teams competed in the national final.  Penn State finished the season with a 34-2 overall record.  During the conference season, the Nittany Lions compiled a 19-1 mark en route to their 10th Big Ten title in the last 11 years and 16th overall.  Wisconsin wrapped up the season with a 28-10 ledger. The 28 wins mark the program's most since UW's 2000 NCAA championship run.

[TWO // nittany lions garner several national volleyball honors]
Two Penn State volleyball standouts and Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose earned national accolades this past week prior to the NCAA Championship final.  Senior Maggie Harding was named the recipient of the Elite 89 award, which was founded by the NCAA and recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport.  Right side hitter Ariel Scott was selected as the winner of the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans, and given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball.  On Thursday, Penn State’s Rose was tabbed the AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year.

[THEEE // all-american girls]
Thirteen Big Ten volleyball players were selected as AVCA Division I All-Americans, the most of any conference, with four players earning first-team status. Minnesota's Tori Dixon, Nebraska's Kelsey Robinson, and Penn State's Micha Hancock and Ariel Scott earned first-team honors, while Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski, Minnesota's Ashley Wittman, Penn State's Deja McClendon and Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini were named to the second team. Illinois' Jocelynn Birks, Michigan State's Kori Moster, Nebraska's Kadie Rolfzen, Penn State's Katie Slay and Purdue's Val Nichol earned third-team honors. Thirteen others received honorable mention recognition -- Illinois' Jennifer Beltran, Michigan's Jennifer Cross, Lexi Dannemiller and Molly Toon, Michigan State's Alexis Mathews, Minnesota's Adrianna Nora, Nebraska's Meghan Haggerty and Mary Pollmiller, Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus, Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary, Penn State's Nia Grant, Purdue's KiKi Jones and Wisconsin's Ellen Chapman.

[FOUR // big ten football garners all-america accolades]
Over the past week, 19 Big Ten football players have garnered All-America distinction from several outlets, including the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Football Writers' Association of America (FWAA), Associated Press,,, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.  For a complete breakdown of this year’s All-America honorees, click here.

[FIVE // time to go bowling…]
The 2013-14 bowl season is upon us, and will have you covered in the weeks to come.  Check out the official Big Ten Bowl Release by clicking here, and be on the lookout for bowl game previews next week.  The postseason will feature seven Big Ten programs, marking the 15th straight season that six or more squads will take part in bowl games.  After winning the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game, Michigan State heads to Pasadena for the first time since 1988 to take on Stanford in the historic 100th Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day. In addition, Ohio State earned a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) berth and will take on Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3. Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin will also take part in New Year's Day contests, with the Hawkeyes taking on LSU in the Outback Bowl, the Huskers facing Georgia in the Gator Bowl and the Badgers squaring off against South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl. Michigan will face Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 28, while Minnesota heads to the Texas Bowl to take on Syracuse on Dec. 27.

[SIX // hoosier high jumper wins bowerman]
Olympic medalist and five-time NCAA Champion Derek Drouin of Indiana added another honor to his impressive list of accolades as he was selected this past week as the winner of the 2013 Bowerman Trophy - the highest honor given to the most outstanding male and female student-athletes in collegiate track & field. Drouin becomes the first Big Ten student-athlete to take home the award.  It was a banner year for Drouin as he was named US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Indoor and Outdoor National Field Athlete of the Year, as well as Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year.

[SEVEN // hoops perfect on the week, perfect on the season]
Big Ten men’s basketball turned in a perfect 16-0 record this past week, including a 10-0 mark over the weekend.  Among those 16 wins, Illinois stunned No. 23/25 Missouri 65-64 in the annual Bragging Rights game, No. 3/2 Ohio State rallied in the final minute to stay perfect on the year with a 64-61 victory over Notre Dame, while No. 5/5 Michigan State bested Texas, 92-78.  On Sunday, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue picked up non-conference wins to conclude the unbeaten week for Big Ten hoops.  On the women’s side, the Big Ten posted a 14-3 record, including a 34-point road win at Cleveland State to keep Indiana undefeated on the season.  In fact, Indiana matched the best start in school history with a 107-73 rout of Cleveland State on the road on Saturday. The Hoosiers are 12-0 for just the second time in school history, matching IU's first-ever women's basketball team, who started 12-0 in 1971-72. The 12 non-conference wins also set a program record for most non-Big Ten regular season victories.

[EIGHT // saturday night showdown]
While the Penn State volleyball team was busy capturing the NCAA Championship over a Big Ten squad on Saturday, the Nittany Lions wrestling team found itself in a national showdown on the mat against another league team.  In an official non-conference matchup, top-ranked Penn State earned its first win at Carver Hawkeye Arena since 2006 with a 24-12 victory at No. 3 Iowa.  The match took place before 14,000 fans despite a snow storm that had blanketed Iowa City.  Penn State took seven of the 10 bouts and moved to 7-0 on the season, while Iowa dropped to 6-1.

[NINE // big ten boasts seven soccer scholar all-americans]
Seven Big Ten men’s and women’s soccer players were named NSCAA Scholar All-Americans this past Thursday by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.  Five women's standouts were recognized as Penn State's Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes earned first-team honors, while Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Minnesota's Katie Thyken and Nebraska's Jordan Jackson were second-team selections.  On the men’s side, Michigan State's Kevin Cope was tabbed a first-team selection and Tim Kreutz was named to the third team.

[TEN // a perfect dozen]
The Best XI teams were announced this past Thursday, with 12 Big Ten women's soccer players earning accolades. Players from seven different conference squads were named to the Best XI teams, which recognize 33 upperclassmen and 22 freshmen for their performances during the 2013 season. The full list of the Big Ten's representation on the Best XI teams can be found by clicking here.

[ELEVEN // pair of big ten baseball ballers named preseason all-america]
Indiana's Kyle Schwarber and Ohio State's Trace Dempsey were named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason All-Americans on Wednesday. Schwarber was a first-team selection after averaging .376 with 18 home runs and 54 RBI a season ago in leading the Hoosiers to the College World Series. Dempsey a second-team choice after ending the 2013 campaign as the Buckeyes' closer. He ended the season with 17 saves in 31 appearances, carrying a 1.02 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .180 average.

[TWELVE // 100 roses]
Finally this week, in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Rose Bowl Game, headlined a feature penned by Malcolm Moran entitled “100 Roses” to show the unique history of the Big Ten’s affiliation with the Granddaddy of Them All.  Moran, Director of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University, is the author of “Rose Bowl: The History of the Granddaddy of Them All.” He covered college football for more than 30 years for publications including The New York Times and USA Today.