Sept. 14, 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
Kirby Toon, Wisconsin
Fr., Middleton, Wis.
Freshman Kirby Toon is continuing a family legacy by competing at Wisconsin. The 6-0 right-side hitter is the daughter of Al Toon, a football and track All-American at the UW who went on to compete with the New York Jets. Kirby is following the footsteps of her older brother Nick, who is a redshirt sophomore wide receiver on the Badger football team. The Middleton, Wis., native is playing volleyball for the first time in nearly a year after suffering a torn ACL during her last season in high school.
Moving on Up
The Big Ten once again boasts three top-10 teams in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 poll, led by No. 1 Penn State. The Nittany Lions are enjoying their 27th straight week at the top. Michigan moved up one spot from last week to No. 6, which is the program’s highest-ever ranking. Minnesota is spending its second straight week at No. 9. Also in the top 25, Illinois remains at No. 14, while Michigan State is up one spot to No. 17, which marks the Spartans’ highest ranking since Oct. 6, 2003, when they were ranked No. 16. Purdue is receiving votes outside the top 25.
The Streak Continues
With three more sweeps at the Duke Invitational over the weekend, Penn State extended its NCAA records for consecutive regular-season sets won to 123 and its overall winning streak to 73 straight matches.
Big Ten. Big Wins.
Big Ten teams picked up two more wins over ranked opponents this weekend as No. 14 Illinois defeated No. 16 St. Louis in four sets and Purdue upended No. 21 Kansas State in five. Illinois’ victory came in the final game of the State Farm Illini Classic, while the Boilermakers’ win came at the Varnay’s Kansas State Invitational, hosted by the Wildcats. Conference squads also earned a pair of wins over teams receiving votes, as Indiana downed Ohio in five sets and No. 1 Penn State swept Duke. Both of those victories came on the opponent’s home court.
The Week Ahead
Big Ten teams combine to play five teams that are ranked or receiving votes this week. No. 9 Minnesota takes on its fifth ranked opponent of the season, facing No. 12 Oregon State in the Pioneer Classic. Overall, Big Ten squads are 15-10 against opposition either ranked or receiving votes at the time of competition, including an 8-6 mark against top-25 foes. Other top opponents this week include No. 14 Illinois and Purdue (rv) against Ohio (rv); No. 6 Michigan vs. Dayton (rv) and Oregon State (rv); and Northwestern against Cincinnati (rv).
With three more wins this weekend, Michigan State is 9-0 and off to the program’s best start since 1976 when the team began 15-0. With a 9-1 start, Ohio State is off to its best beginning since 2006 when the team opened the campaign 10-0. Michigan is off to a 10-0 start for the fourth consecutive year, having won its last 50 regular-season non-conference matches. Also undefeated, Penn State is 9-0 for the second consecutive year and the third time in the last four seasons.
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.