Sept. 6, 2011
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 53-14 (.791) record against non-conference opponents through two weeks, including a 27-6 mark last week. Five Big Ten teams remain undefeated as Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue hold 6-0 records, and Northwestern stands at 5-0. The Spartans and Wildcats have yet to lose a set this season, earning all of their victories by 3-0 margins.
Very Valuable: Seven Big Ten players took home Most Valuable Player honors at their respective tournaments over the weekend, with 18 other conference standouts earning All-Tournament Team accolades. Illinois' Michelle Bartsch (State Farm Illini Classic), Michigan State's Jenilee Rathje (Spartan Showcase) and Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus (Chicago Challenge) each received the honor for the second-straight week, while Indiana's Kelci Marschall (IU Classic), Michigan's Clare McElheny (La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational), Penn State's Micha Hancock (Pittsburgh Invitational) and Purdue's Tiffany Fisher (Denver Invitational) reeled in their first MVP awards of the season.
Where We Rank: Seven Big Ten volleyball teams garnered top-25 status in the latest AVCA Division I Coaches' Poll. Penn State holds No. 2 nationally for the second-straight week, while Illinois jumps three spots to join the Nittany Lions in the top five at No. 4. Minnesota earns top-10 consideration this week, moving to No. 6 in the latest poll. Nebraska and Purdue sit just outside the top 10, with the Huskers checking in at No. 11 and the Boilermakers earning No. 13. Michigan stands at No. 20 this week, followed by Ohio State at No. 25. Michigan State and Northwestern are receiving votes in the poll.
Don't Touch That Dial: Big Ten volleyball will be featured prominently on BTN and ESPN2 this season, with 29 matches receiving national coverage. BTN will provide coverage for 26 matches, including 17 live broadcasts. Numerous matches will also be streamed live online on www.BTN.com.
Big Ten Bits: Minnesota's back-to-back 3-0 wins over then-No. 4 Texas last week marked the first time the Longhorns had been swept in consecutive matches since the 2000 season ... Indiana's Samantha Thrower tied a Big Ten and NCAA single-match record with a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage (15-0-15) against Buffalo.
We've Got You Covered: Now there are more ways than ever to follow Big Ten volleyball. The Big Ten volleyball blog can be accessed directly here and will feature notes, links to articles, previews, recaps and more. You can also keep track of Big Ten volleyball in real-time by following the conference on Twitter @BigTenConf and @B1GVolleyball or become a fan of the Big Ten Conference on Facebook.