Sept. 7, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
Updates on Big Ten volleyball can be found daily at the Big Ten Volleyball Blog: http://www.bigten.org/blog/volley_blog.html
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
Whitney Thomas, Indiana
Sr., Bloomington, Ind.
Thomas already enjoyed a successful career at Indiana on the basketball court and is taking advantage of an NCAA rule which affords student-athletes a fifth year of eligibility to play one season of a different sport. On the basketball court, Thomas was just the second player in school history to reach 1,000 career points and rebounds, also the only player to hit the double-millennium mark while compiling 200 steals. Thomas graduated from IU in May, but has enrolled in graduate school and is pursuing her master’s degree.
Big Ten Polling Place
For the second straight week, three Big Ten teams boast top-10 rankings in the AVCA coaches poll. Penn State is spending its 26th consecutive week at No. 1, while Michigan holds steady at No. 7. Minnesota is up four spots from last week to No. 9, enjoying its highest ranking since Sept. 15, 2008. Also in the poll, Illinois sits at No. 14, and Michigan State is up two places to No. 18. Purdue is receiving votes outside the top 25. The Big Ten and Pac-10 are the only conferences with three top-10 teams this week.
Another Challenging Week
So far this season, Big Ten teams have combined to go 6-2 against top-25 opposition. This week, the conference will face five more ranked opponents. On Sept. 11, Iowa will put its perfect record on the line against in-state rival No. 11 Iowa State. That same day, No. 9 Minnesota will face its second top-3 foe this year, No. 3 Washington. The following day, No. 14 Illinois goes up against No. 16 St. Louis, and Purdue takes on No. 17 Kentucky and No. 21 Kansas State.
Michigan’s Lexi Zimmerman recorded her first career triple-double and the first for Michigan since 2004 with 11 kills, 42 assists and 17 digs against Tennessee on Friday. The following morning, Purdue’s Jaclyn Hart posted the Boilermakers’ 14th program triple-double and first since 2005 with 12 kills, 41 assists and 10 digs. The weekend performances marked the first time since 2007 that two Big Ten players posted triple-doubles in the same weekend.
Penn State shattered the Big Ten’s record for single-match hitting percentage by posting a .702 (34-1-47) mark against Buffalo on Friday. The average stands as the fifth-highest in NCAA Division I history. The mark breaks the conference’s previous high of .689, set by Northwestern in 1998. Penn State’s three sweeps extended the team’s NCAA-record winning streak to 70 consecutive matches and 114 consecutive regular-season sets.
With a 6-0 record, Iowa is off to its best start in 21 years and just the third 6-0 start in program history, having last accomplished the feat in 1988. Michigan State is off to its best start since 2006, when the Spartans opened that year’s campaign 6-0. Penn State is 6-0 for the second time in as many years, and Michigan is off to a 5-0 start for the fourth consecutive season.
Big Ten volleyball is enjoying vast coverage during the 2009 season with 23 matches to be broadcast nationally on the Big Ten Network, ESPN2 and ESPNU. The complete TV schedule can be found on Page 4. In addition, daily doses of Big Ten volleyball news can be found on the Big Ten Volleyball Blog, at http://www.bigten.org/blog/volley_blog.html. Keep track of Big Ten volleyball in real-time by logging on to Twitter and following @BigTenConf and @BigTenVal.