Sept. 1, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
Laura Kastein, Ohio State
Sr., Marysville, Ohio
Kastein has been an active volunteer, serving as a Wow Jam Youth Leader in Los Angeles, Calif., and Canada, and also went on a mission to South Africa while in high school. She will attend Stellenbosch University in South Africa this January as part of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) program and will participate in community service programs while there. Kastein, an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, played in 25 matches as a libero/defensive specialist last season after transferring from Duquesne.
BIG TEN. BIG NEWS.
Big Ten Opens Season with Big Wins
Big Ten teams opened the 2008 season with several big wins over teams ranked or receiving votes in the national preseason poll. Penn State, ranked No. 1 in the country, recorded wins over two top-15 teams (No. 6 UCLA, No. 12 Hawai’i) and another over Ohio (receiving votes), while Illinois notched two top-25 victories to win the Illini Classic, defeating No. 23 New Mexico State and No. 11 Oregon. The Illini’s win over the Aggies marked the team’s first victory over a ranked non-conference opponent since 2004. No. 25 Purdue knocked off No. 14 Kansas State and Duke (rv) in the Mortar Board Premier, while No. 13 Wisconsin defeated Kentucky (rv) in the Wildcats’ home tournament. Overall, Big Ten teams went 6-1 vs. top-25 competition.
Big Ten Standouts Rake in MVP Honors
Six Big Ten standouts were named MVPs of weekend tournaments, including Co-Offensive Players of the Week, Laura DeBruler of Illinois and Nicole Fawcett of Penn State. In addition, Michigan’s Megan Bower set a career-high in kills to earn the honors at the Rice University Mizuno Invitational; Minnesota’s Brook Dieter averaged 3.5 kills, 2.4 digs and 0.5 blocks per set at Creighton’s Bluejay Invitational; Purdue’s Danita Merlau tallied 4.4 kills, 1.9 digs and 0.6 blocks per set at the Boilermakers’ Mortar Board Premier; and Wisconsin’s Brittney Dolgner recorded double-digit kills in each match at the Kentucky Classic.
Purdue’s Shondell Reaches Major Milestone
Purdue head coach Dave Shondell earned his 100th victory as a college coach with the Boilermakers’ sweep over Tennessee State on Saturday. His record at Purdue stands at 101-66, good for a .605 winning percentage.
Purdue senior Stephanie Lynch broke her school’s all-time block assists record against Tennessee State on Saturday, now with 389 to her name. Purdue’s previous school record was 382, set by Kim McConaha from 2001-04. Lynch is 76 block assists away from cracking the Big Ten’s career top 10 in that category. With 17 kills on the weekend, Wisconsin’s Brittney Dolgner inched closer to becoming the fastest player in Wisconsin history with 1,000 career kills. The junior needs just nine more to become the 17th Badger to reach the milestone.
Big Ten on TV
The Big Ten’s 11 volleyball squads will enjoy vast exposure during the 2008 regular season with 23 matches set to air on national television. Twenty contests will air on the Big Ten Network and three on ESPN2. The Big Ten Network will also feature Big Ten volleyball as part of its nightly highlight show, Big Ten Tonight, as well as the Big Ten Women’s Show, which airs Monday evenings. Match coverage begins Sept. 14, as Minnesota hosts Notre Dame as part of the Diet Coke Classic.