Penn State Tabbed Preseason Favorite by Big Ten Volleyball Coaches




Aug. 17, 2006

PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Three-time defending Big Ten champion Penn State has been voted for the second-consecutive season by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite for the upcoming Big Ten volleyball season, it was announced Thursday by the conference office.  Wisconsin, last year's Big Ten runner-up, was tabbed second, followed by Minnesota at the No. 3 position.  The conference coaches also selected a 12-member Preseason All-Big Ten team, which is led in representation by the Nittany Lions, Golden Gophers and Ohio State with three selections each.

The Nittany Lions, ranked second in the CSTV/AVCA National Preseason Coaches Poll, are coming off a perfect 20-0 conference season and a 31-3 overall record.  Penn State enters the 2006 season with experience in senior Cassy Salyer and junior Melissa Walbridge, as well as a solid young core in sophomore standouts Nicole Fawcett and Christa Harmotto.  Fawcett, who was tabbed the conference's Freshman of the Year last season, and Harmotto, a member of the Big Ten's All-Freshman Team, are the lone unanimous preseason selections and are joined by Walbridge on the 12-member team. 

Wisconsin, ranked ninth nationally after a 26-7 (15-5 Big Ten) season last year, boasts one Preseason All-Big Ten selection in sophomore outside hitter Audra Jeffers, but returns key components to the Badgers in senior Maria Calini and juniors Jackie Simpson, Jocelyn Wack and Taylor Reineke, a middle blocker tabbed All-Big Ten in 2005.

The Golden Gophers, selected third by the coaches, enter the season ranked 22nd after a 25-8 season, including a third-place finish with Ohio State at 14-6 in conference play.  Minnesota seniors Kelly Bowman and Meredith Nelson each earned their second-straight selections to the Preseason All-Big Ten team, while first-time honoree Jessy Jones, a junior middle blocker, was also tabbed by the coaches.

Ohio State's Marisa Main and Ami Stevens also earned their second-straight preseason nod and welcomed fellow honoree and teammate Danielle Meyer, who along with Main was a member of the 2005 All-Big Ten team.

Rounding out the preseason squad is Michigan State junior outside hitter Katie Johnson and Purdue sophomore middle blocker Stephanie Lynch.  Both Johnson and Lynch were honorable mention All-Big Ten selections in 2005, while Lynch was also named to the Big Ten's All-Freshman Team.

The 2006 season kicks off on August 25-26 with the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase in Madison, Wis.  Three of the top-10 preseason teams, No. 3 Washington, No. 8 Texas and the ninth-ranked Badgers will be joined by No. 15 Ohio University at this year's event.

The complete 2006 Big Ten Volleyball Preseason Poll and Preseason All-Big Ten Team follows.   
 

2006 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL

1.  Penn State
2.  Wisconsin
3.  Minnesota
4.  Ohio State
5.  Purdue
6.  Northwestern
7.  Michigan State
8.  Michigan
9.  Illinois
10. Iowa
11. Indiana

2006 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL TEAM

Name

School

Yr.

Position

Hometown

Katie Johnson

Michigan State

Jr.

Outside Hitter

Brooklyn, Mich.

Kelly Bowman (2)

Minnesota

Sr.

Setter

Maple Grove, Minn.

Jessy Jones

Minnesota

Jr.

Middle Blocker

Naperville, Ill.

Meredith Nelson (2)

Minnesota

Sr.

Middle Blocker

St. Croix Falls, Wis.

Marisa Main (2)

Ohio State

Sr.

Setter

Louisville, Ky.

Danielle Meyer

Ohio State

Jr.

Middle Blocker

Cincinnati, Ohio

Ami Stevens (2)

Ohio State

Jr.

Outside Hitter

Centerburg, Ohio

NICOLE FAWCETT

PENN STATE

SO.

OUTSIDE HITTER

ZANESFIELD, OHIO

CHRISTA HARMOTTO

PENN STATE

SO.

MIDDLE BLOCKER

ALIQUIPPA, PA.

Melissa Walbridge

Penn State

Jr.

Middle Blocker

Yardley, Pa.

Stephanie Lynch

Purdue

So.

Middle Blocker

New Albany, Ind.

Audra Jeffers

Wisconsin

So.

Outside Hitter

Hartland, Wis.

UNANIMOUS SELECTION IN CAPS
(2)  Two-time selection


 

 

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