Penn State Volleyball Voted Big Ten Preseason Favorite
Aug. 16, 2007
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - For the third-consecutive season, four-time defending Big Ten Champion Penn State has been voted by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite for the upcoming Big Ten volleyball season, it was announced Thursday by the conference office. Wisconsin, which finished third in the Big Ten last season, was selected second, while 2006 conference runner-up Minnesota was voted third. The conference coaches also selected a 12-member Preseason All-Big Ten team, which is led in representation by the Nittany Lions and Badgers with three selections each.
Penn State, ranked third in the CSTV/AVCA National Preseason Coaches Poll, is coming off an 18-2 mark in conference play and an overall record of 32-3. The Nittany Lions will be led this season by Preseason All-Big Ten selections sophomore Megan Hodge and juniors Nicole Fawcett and Christa Harmotto. Fawcett and Hodge have claimed the past two AVCA National and Big Ten Freshman of the Year awards, while Hodge became the first Big Ten newcomer to ever earn the conference's Freshman and Player of the Year awards in the same season. Fawcett and Hodge join Ohio State's Danielle Meyer as unanimous selections on this year's Preseason All-Big Ten team.
Wisconsin, ranked 11th nationally after a 26-7 (16-4 Big Ten) season last year, boasts three Preseason All-Big Ten selections in sophomore outside hitter Brittney Dolgner, senior middle blocker Taylor Reineke and senior setter Jackie Simpson. The UW trio earned All-Big Ten honors last season under the direction of Pete Waite, who was named the conference's Coach of the Year last year by the coaches.
The Golden Gophers, selected third by the coaches, enter the season ranked ahead of the Badgers in the national poll at ninth overall. Minnesota finished the 2006 season 26-8 overall and second in the conference at 16-4. Senior middle blocker Jessy Jones, an honorable mention All-Conference selection last year, earned her second-straight Preseason All-Big Ten honor and will help lead a Gopher squad that enters 2007 on the heels of its third NCAA regional final in the past four years.
In addition to Minnesota's Jones, Ohio State's Meyer and Penn State's Fawcett and Harmotto, Michigan State's Katie Johnson and Purdue's Stephanie Lynch also earned their second-straight Preseason All-Big Ten nods. Lynch was a National Player of the Week honoree, an AVCA All-America honorable mention selection and an All-Big Ten recipient in 2006, while Johnson earned an honorable mention nod from the conference.
Also voted to the Preseason All-Big Ten squad were seniors Vicky Brown of Illinois and Michigan's Katie Bruzdzinski. The Wolverine senior outside hitter earned her first All-Conference award last season, while Brown concluded her junior campaign as an honorable mention selection.
The complete 2007 Big Ten Volleyball Preseason Poll and Preseason All-Big Ten Team follows.
2007 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
2007 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL TEAM
(2) Two-time selection