Sept. 6, 2004
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Impressive Start For Conference Teams
In its first first week of competition, the Big Ten showed its dominance throughout the country, with League teams combining for a 31-4 (.886) record. Both Purdue and Wisconsin knocked off No. 12 Georgia Tech at the Badger Challenge in Madison, while No. 5 Minnesota and Michigan State swept each of their three contests.
Five Big Ten Squads Ranked in Top 25
For the first time since September 1, 2003, five Big Ten teams are ranked in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 poll. In the poll released September 6, Minnesota leads all League teams at No. 5, followed by No. 7 Penn State. Illinois moved up three spots from the preseason poll to 16th, while No. 24 Purdue and No. 25 Wisconsin round out the Conference squads. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State also received votes.
The Sweet Smell of a Rose
Penn State opened its season September 3 with a 3-0 sweep of Rutgers, giving head coach Russ Rose his 800th career victory. The Nittany Lion mentor became only the sixth coach in Division I history to reach the 800-win plateau. Currently, Rose ranks second all-time among active coaches in winning percentage (.844, Hawaii's Dave Shoji-.849) and third all-time in victories (802).
Fredrick Successfully Begins Tenure at Iowa
Cindy Fredrick began her stint as Iowa head coach in winning fashion September 3, as the Hawkeyes topped Wright State, 3-2. Iowa captured its second game of the season as well, sweeping Denver 3-0, before falling at Illinois State.
Wolverines Set School Record in Hitting Percentage
Michigan set a new school record for hitting percentage against Manhattan, hitting .525 in a 3-0 win. The previous record was .524 set against Iowa in 1991.
How Low Can Penn State Go?
When Penn State defeated Quinnipiac 30-5 in the second game of its match on September 4, it marked the lowest point total allowed to an opponent in Penn State rally-scoring-era history. Ironically, the previous low was 30-6 versus Quinnipiac on August 31, 2002.
Welcome to the Club Ms. Gordon
Ohio State's Stacey Gordon, who set a Big Ten record last season with 6.62 kills per game, recorded 85 kills in the first week of play and surpassed the 2,000 plateau for her career. Gordon is one of only seven players in League history to have surpassed 2,000 kills. Currently, she ranks sixth all-time with 2,041.
Others in League Stalking Gordon's Mark
Several other Big Ten student-athletes have their sights set on individual marks for kills this season as well. Those who are seeking the 1,500-kill plateau this season are Indiana's Christina Archibald (1,442), Michigan's Jennifer Gandolph (1,272), and Minnesota's Erin Martin (1,217).
Illini Gets Shot at Top-Ranked Women of Troy
No. 16 Illinois will most likely be the second Big Ten squad to face the nation's best this season, as top-ranked USC travels to Champaign for the State Farm Illini Classic. Should Illinois defeat Miami of Ohio -- a team the Orange and Blue swept on September 4 -- and USC wins its first-round match over American, the Illini and Women of Troy would face off in the championship match. Earlier this year, Minnesota dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to USC at the NACWAA Tournament.
Boilermakers Bust into Poll for First Time Since 1990
After its 3-1 victory over No. 12 Georgia Tech on September 3, Purdue has moved into the No. 24 position in the USA Today/CSTV poll. The selection marks the team's first Top 25 ranking since the final poll of the 1990 season, which also was the last time the Boilermakers went to the NCAA Tournament.
Other "Firsts" For The Boilers...
The win over then-No. 12 Georgia Tech marked the first win over a Top 15 team for Purdue since the 1993 season, while Annie Mastandrea pulled up 31 digs in the Missouri match, which marked the first time a Purdue player had recorded more than 30 digs since 1990.
Gophers Take to the Small Screen
The Minnesota-Florida match on Saturday, Sept. 11 will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis on CSTV (first broadcast Sunday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.). It marks the first time the Golden Gopher volleyball program has appeared on CSTV Sunday Night Spikes. The match features two of last year's Final Four participants. The Gators advanced all the way to the National Championship, where they lost to USC in four games. Minnesota fell to USC in the Final Four in three games.
Two Big Ten Squads Affected by Hurricane Frances
As the approach of Hurricane Frances threatened the eastern coast of Florida, both Illinois and Northwestern were forced to cancel their previously scheduled volleyball tournaments September 3-4, on the campuses of Miami and Florida, respectively. Both Florida schools cancelled their tournaments on September 1 in anticipation of severe weather. The cancellations forced Illinois to travel to the Hurricane Frances Classic in Oxford, Ohio, while Northwestern quickly organized the NU Labor Day Classic in Evanston.
Gordon Extends Double-Figure Streak for Kills
Ohio State's Stacey Gordon, who recorded eight service aces against Temple to set the OSU match record, has also served as an ace when it comes to double-figure kills. This past weekend, Gordon had double-figure kills in all four matches to extend her current streak to 80 matches.
Preseason Rankings "Golden" For Gophers
Minnesota, which finished its season 26-11 after falling to USC in the national semifinals, is the Big Ten preseason favorite and leads all League teams in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll at No. 5. In addition to being the top-rated team among Big Ten squads, the Golden Gophers' ranking is the highest preseason selection in school history.
Minnesota's Gentil Digs Her Way to the Top
Paula Gentil broke the Minnesota school record in digs on September 3, passing Sharon Oesterling (1986-89) who had previously held the record at 1,291. Gentil ended the week with 1,338 career digs. She broke the school record against UT-San Antonio. The two-time defending Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Gentil set the Conference record in digs last year with 656. Gentil's mark bettered the previous record of 606 set by Purdue's Becky Kanitz in 1987. With 656 digs in 2003 and 574 in 2002, the junior libero has the two highest single-season totals in school history.
This One's For You Coach
A handful of League coaches also have milestones on the horizon this season. Penn State mentor Russ Rose, who ranks third all-time in the nation in wins, recorded his 800th win on September 3. Michigan State's Chuck Erbe is five short of No. 550, while Ohio State's Jim Stone if five shy of No. 500. Wisconsin's Pete Waite is in his 17th year at the helm just three wins away of No. 400 and Michigan's Mark Rosen needs just two victories for his 300th career win. Cindy Fredrick of Iowa picked up her first win at Iowa in a 3-2 victory over Wright State on September 3.