Sept. 13, 2004
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The Minnesota Golden Gopher volleyball team is ranked No. 1 in the latest USA Today/CSTV poll, thanks in part to Illinois' upset over top-ranked and two-time defending national champion USC last weekend. The Gophers defeated No. 4 Florida and No. 15 Kansas State to take over ownership of the top spot. Penn State has moved up to fifth, while Illinois sits ninth. This marks the first time since December 4, 2000, the Big Ten has had three teams ranked in the nation's top 10.
All Hail The Gophers
Minnesota is the new top-ranked team in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 poll it was announced Monday. This marks the first time in school history the Golden Gophers have been ranked No. 1. Not since Penn State won the NCAA Championship in 1999 and was ranked No. 1 in the final poll, has a Big Ten team been tabbed the best in the nation.
The Conquer of Troy
In front of nearly 3,000 fans in Huff Hall on Saturday, 16th-ranked Illinois defeated top-ranked and two-time defending national champion USC, 3-2, ending the longest winning streak in NCAA volleyball history at 52 straight. The Illini (5-0) topped the Women of Troy 30-24, 24-30, 12-30, 30-27, 15-8, which marked the first time in school history that the Orange and Blue defeated a number one team. Earlier this year, Minnesota dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to USC at the NACWAA Tournament.
Impressive Start For Conference Teams
In its first two weeks of competition, the Big Ten showed its dominance throughout the country, with League teams combining for a 56-11 (.836) record, including a 25-7 (.781) performance last week. The Conference recorded a 31-4 (.886) mark in the first week of play.
Eight Big Ten Teams Earn Recognition in Top 25 Poll
Eight Big Ten teams have received recognition in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 poll released September 13. Minnesota leads the nation at No. 1, followed by No. 5 Penn State and No. 9 Illinois. Not since December 4, 2000 have three Big Ten teams (WIS-4, PSU-8, MINN-9) been ranked in the top 10. Ohio State is ranked No. 25, while Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin received votes.
Wolverines Go 3-0 For Rosen's 3-0-0
Michigan head coach Mark Rosen recorded his 300th career victory in a 3-0 defeat of Oakland University on September 11. The Wolverines captured the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge title that evening with a 3-0 sweep of Florida State. Rosen is now 301-107 in his 13th season as a head coach and has 92 wins at the Michigan helm, third-best on the all-time list.
And While We're Talking Numbers...
With the weekend sweep of the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge (September 10-11), the Wolverines are off to a 7-0 start, their best start since 1983 when U-M began the season 8-0. No Michigan volleyball team has started a season better than 8-0.
Waite's Wait Down To One
Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite needs only one more victory for career win No. 400. The Badgers went 2-1 the weekend of September 10-11 to earn UW's sixth-year head coach wins 398 and 399. Badger fans will most likely be able to witness No. 400, as Wisconsin opens a five-match homestand, beginning with Virginia on September 17.
Big Ten Tops Against Top-Ranked Teams
Proving its dominance in collegiate volleyball, the Big Ten is 8-3 so far this year against teams ranked in the USA Today/CSTV poll. No. 16 Illinois upset top-ranked USC 3-2 on September 11, while No. 5 Minnesota has claimed wins over Florida (4), Colorado State (11) and Kansas State (15).
Making Those Yellow Jackets Blue
For the third time this season, a Big Ten squad has knocked off nationally-ranked Georgia Tech. Ohio State won the Georgia Tech Invitational September 11, with a 3-0 sweep of the host Yellow Jackets. The Buckeyes win marked the end of Tech's 26-match home winning streak. Earlier this year, Purdue defeated then-No. 12 Tech, 3-1, one day before Wisconsin topped the Yellow Jackets, 3-2.
Keep Your Eye on the Hawks
Under first-year head coach Cindy Fredrick, the Iowa Hawkeyes have already equaled their win total from last season. Iowa went 4-0 the weekend of September 11 and captured the Lamar Cardinal Classic title. The Hawkeyes, who improved to 6-1 on the season, were just 6-24 last year.
Gophers Say Just Bring it
Minnesota has stormed out to a 7-1 record this season, with four of those games coming against top 15 competition. The Gophers fell to #1 USC in a five-game heartbreaker in August, but have captured top-15 wins over #4 Florida (3-2), #11 Colorado State (3-1), and #15 Kansas State (3-2). USC is the two-time defending national champion, while Florida was a national semifinalist along with the Gophers last season.
Bowman Brings It During Top-Ranked Competition
Minnesota's Kelly Bowman is the only Big Ten player so far this season to record at least one triple-double. The sophomore setter has tallied two triple-doubles this year, with both coming against two of the top four teams in the nation. On August 28, Bowman recorded 17 kills, 18 digs and 40 assists versus #1 USC, while on September 11, she recorded 11 kills, 19 kills and 15 assists against #4 Florida.
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 (.845, Hawaii's Dave Shoji-.850) and third all-time in victories (805).
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 on September 4, 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.
Forget 2,000...2,100 is Much Sweeter
Ohio State's Stacey Gordon, who set a Big Ten record last season with 6.62 kills per game, ended the past weekend with an even 2,100 kills for her career. The Buckeye senior is now just eight kills away from fifth all-time in Big Ten history (Debbie McDonald, PUR, 2,108) and 40 shy of Minnesota's Andrea Gonzalez's mark of 2,140, which is fourth-best. Gordon recorded 85 kills in the first week of play this season to surpass the 2,000 plateau. Gordon is one of only seven players in League history to have surpassed 2,000 kills.
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 (1,479), Michigan's Jennifer Gandolph (1,292), and Minnesota's Erin Martin (1,279).
Boilermakers Bust into Poll for First Time Since 1990
After its 3-1 victory over No. 12 Georgia Tech on September 3, Purdue 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.
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 a two-match total of 59 kills to extend her current streak to 82 matches.
Minnesota's Gentil Digs Her Way to the Top
Paula Gentil, who currently has 1,431 career digs and is just a junior at Minnesota, is only 500 digs away from the Big Ten career record of 1,931, set by Iowa's Janet Moylan from 1987-90. 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. 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.
Preseason Rankings "Golden" For Gophers
Minnesota, which finished its season 26-11 after falling to USC in the national semifinals, was the Big Ten preseason favorite and led 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 was the highest preseason selection in school history.