First Serve: Big Ten volleyball enjoyed another successful weekend of non-conference play, with seven teams taking home tournament titles. The conference has combined for a 60-9 (.870) record against non-conference opponents through two weeks, including a 29-4 mark last week. Six Big Ten teams remain undefeated as Michigan holds a 7-0 record and Michigan State stands at 6-0, while Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State sit at 5-0.
Very Valuable: Seven Big Ten players took home Most Valuable Player honors at their respective tournaments over the weekend, with 19 other conference standouts earning All-Tournament Team accolades. Northwestern’s Stephanie Holthus (La Quinta Invitational) and Penn State’s Ariel Scott each received MVP honors for the second-straight week, while Indiana’s Caitlin Hansen (Indiana Invitational), Michigan’s Lexi Dannemiller (adidas/Michigan Challenge), Michigan State’s Kori Moster (University of Connecticut Classic), Minnesota’s Ashley Wittman (Diet Coke Classic) and Ohio State’s Emily Danks (Maryland Tournament) reeled in their first MVP awards of the season.
Where We Rank: Eight Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked or receiving votes in the latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, led by No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Penn State. The Huskers remain at No. 1 for the second consecutive week, while the Nittany Lions jump two spots after defeating then-No.11 Stanford and No. 2 Texas over the weekend. Purdue comes in at No. 11, followed by No. 14 Minnesota, No. 20 Illinois and No. 23 Michigan. Ohio State and Michigan State are also receiving votes.
One and Two is Nothing New: Nebraska and Penn State have held the top two spots in the poll multiple times. In 2010, Penn State was the preseason favorite, followed by No. 2 Nebraska. During the 2008 campaign, both institutions topped the poll for nine consecutive weeks. Throughout the 2006 and 2007 seasons, both squads topped the rankings for 13 weeks, with Nebraska winning the NCAA title in 2006 and Penn State going on to win its first of four consecutive national championship’s in 2007.