Jan. 13, 2011
Complete Release in PDF Format
Nittany Lions Win Fourth in a Row
After a three-set wins over Texas in the national semifinals and California in the final, Penn State took home its fourth straight national championship and fifth title in program history. This postseason, the Nittany Lions lost just one set as they extended their NCAA Championship-record winning streak to 24 straight matches.
Where We Rank
Six Big Ten volleyball teams were ranked in the top 25 of the final 2010 AVCA poll, the most of any conference. On the heels of winning its fourth straight national championship, Penn State finished the season as the No. 1 team in the rankings. Illinois and Minnesota rounded out the top 10 at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively, with Purdue following close behind at No. 11. Ohio State and Indiana both jumped into the top 25, with the Buckeyes appearing at No. 19 and Indiana checking in at No. 23. Michigan and Northwestern were among teams also receiving votes.
Brown Wins Honda Award
Penn State senior standout Blair Brown won the 2011 Honda Sports Award for volleyball, designating her as the nation’s top collegiate female athlete in the sport. She becomes the third straight Penn State player to win the award, following Nicole Fawcett in 2009 and Megan Hodge in 2010. It is the fifth time a Big Ten player has won the honor as the Nittany Lions’ Lauren Cacciamani won the 1999 award and Illinois’ Mary Eggers in 1998. Brown won Big Ten Player of the Year honors this season and ended her career as a three-time AVCA All-American and a four-time national champion. This season, she led Penn State with 521 kills, averaging 4.24 kills per set on .320 hitting.
A Successful Postseason
Having placed eight teams in the NCAA Championship for the second time, Big Ten teams combined for the most postseason victories in conference history in 2010. Conference squads totaled 18 postseason victories, bettering the previous high of 15 wins in 2004. Six Big Ten teams advanced to the round of 16, joining the Pac-10 in 1982 as the only other conference to send six teams to the regional semifinal round.
A Winning Tradition
Including the 2010 season, Big Ten teams have combined to win 10 or more NCAA matches in each of the last eight years, amounting to an 107-48 (.690) record during that span. The Big Ten has gone .500 or better in NCAA play every postseason since 1991, spanning the last 20 years. Big Ten teams have posted winning percentages of .600 or better in each of the last eightNCAA events and winning marks of over .700 in each of the last four years.
Eight Teams Reach 20 Wins
This season, a record eight Big Ten teams reached or eclipsed the 20-wins mark. Only once before, in 1987, had the Big Ten had seven teams reach the 20-win mark. This year, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue each reached the milestone.
In 2010, each conference squad recorded at least one victory over a team ranked in the AVCA coaches poll. Nine Big Ten teams had at least two wins over top-25 teams, while all eight NCAA Championship-qualifying teams won three or more matches against ranked opponents. Penn State faced 13 ranked opponents, totaling a Big Ten-best 10 victories against those squads this season.
Thirteen Big Ten volleyball standouts were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Teams. Three were named to the first team, four were chosen for the second and third teams, and two earned honorable mention status. In addition, Penn State's Deja McClendon was named the AVCA Freshman of the Year. Penn State's Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson were named first-team All-Americans for the second year in a row, while Indiana's Ashley Benson made her first appearance on the first team. Second-team honorees included Illinois' Colleen Ward, Michigan's Lexi Zimmerman, Northwestern's Sabel Moffett and Penn State's McClendon. Third-team selections went to Illinois' Michelle Bartsch and Hillary Haen, Michigan's Alex Hunt and Purdue's Jaclyn Hart, with Minnesota's Jessica Granquist and Northwestern's Naomi Johnson earning honorable mention status.
Thirteen Big Ten standouts were named to the 14-member AVCA All-Mideast Region team, the association announced. The 14-member squad includes one four-time selection in Michigan's Lexi Zimmerman, a pair of three-time honorees in Penn State's Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson and two-time members Ashley Benson of Indiana and Sabel Moffett of Northwestern. Penn State's Deja McClendon was named Mideast Region Freshman of the Year, while Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose was named Mideast Region Coach of the Year. Other All-Mideast Region team members include Illinois' Michelle Bartsch, Hillary Haen and Colleen Ward, Michigan's Alex Hunt, Minnesota's Jessica Granquist, Northwestern's Naomi Johnson, Penn State's McClendon and Purdue's Jaclyn Hart.