Sept. 20, 2004
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Indiana and Purdue Set to Open 2004 Big Ten Play
The 2004 Big Ten Conference season begins this Wednesday when Indiana travels to intrastate rival Purdue for a 7 p.m. first serve. The majority of this weekend's League play will take place on Friday and Saturday, and will conclude Sunday with No. 5 Penn State traveling to Wisconsin for a 1 p.m. matinee.
All Hail The Gophers
Minnesota has claimed the No. 1 spot in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 poll once again this week. The Golden Gophers are 10-1 on the season after capturing three wins this past weekend at the North Carolina Tournament. This is the second-straight week Minnesota has been ranked No. 1, marking the first time a Big Ten squad has ruled the collegiate volleyball scene in consecutive weeks since Penn State in 1999. The Nittany Lions held the No. 1 rank for 11-straight weeks from October 4, 1999 until the final poll of the 1999 season when PSU captured the NCAA title.
OSU's Stone Reaches No. 500
Ohio State head coach Jim Stone captured his 500th career win September 17 when his Buckeyes defeated Northeastern, 3-1. The win ranks him fourth among active coaches in the League.
Worth the Wait for Waite
Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite captured career win No. 400 last Friday in a 3-0 sweep of Virginia. Waite, who is in his 17th year at the helm of the Badgers, ranks 35th all-time among active coaches with 402 wins, but ranks near the top 10 in winning percentage at .742 (402-140) overall.
Six Big Ten Teams Earn Recognition in Top 25 Poll
Six Big Ten teams have received recognition in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 poll released September 20. Minnesota leads the nation at No. 1, followed by No. 4 Penn State and No. 13 Illinois. Ohio State made the biggest jump of any team in the polls this week, moving from 25th to 20th. Michigan and Wisconsin also received votes.
Big Ten Boasts Winning Record Over Top-25 Teams
In the four total weeks of non-conference action, Big Ten teams were a combined 10-5 against top-25 competition. League teams defeated two top-10 teams, including then top-ranked USC (Illinois, 3-2), and posted a record of 7-4 against teams in the top-15. On three occasions, three different Big Ten teams defeated the 12th-ranked team, as Purdue and Wisconsin topped then-No. 12 Georgia Tech the first week of September, while Penn State topped No. 12 Stanford the week after.
Underclassmen Blocking Out the Competition
Seven underclassmen, including three freshmen in the top five, currently lead the Conference in blocks. Only two juniors and one senior can be found among the top 10 blockers in the League. Wisconsin freshman Taylor Reineke leads the Conference with 1.45 blocks per game, while classmates Lyndsay Miller of Michigan (1.39) and Illinois' Jen Hynds (1.33) are third and fifth, respectively.
Keep Your Eye on the Hawks
Under first-year head coach Cindy Fredrick, the Iowa Hawkeyes have already surpassed their win total from last season. Iowa opened this season 8-3, after going 6-24 last season. The eight-win total marks the highest number of victories for the Iowa program in four years. The Hawks also had eight wins in 2002 when Iowa finished 8-22 on the year.
An A-Maize-ing Start
Despite dropping a 3-2 decision to Western Michigan on September 17, the Michigan Wolverines opened their 2004 campaign with an 8-0 start. The eight wins to start the year tied the school record for the Maize and Blue, as no Michigan volleyball team has started a season better than 8-0.
Three Big Ten Squads Affected by Hurricane Season
For the second time this season, a Big Ten team has had scheduling conflicts due to a hurricane.
Michigan State was scheduled to face No. 2 USC at the Gamecock Invitational in South Carolina on September 19, but the Women of Troy backed out due to safety concerns with Hurricane Ivan in the area and Hurricane Jeanne surfacing in the Atlantic.
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.
Gophers Say Just Bring it
Minnesota has stormed out to a 10-1 record this season, with four of those games coming against top 15 competition. The Gophers fell to No. 1 USC in a five-game heartbreaker in August, but have captured top-15 wins over No. 4 Florida (3-2), No. 11 Colorado State (3-1), and No. 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 one of only two Big Ten players so far this season to record at least one triple-double. The sophomore setter, who has tallied three triple-doubles this year, with two coming against two of the top four teams in the nation. On August 28, Bowman recorded 17 kills, 18 digs and 40 assists versus No. 1 USC, while on September 11, she recorded 11 kills, 19 kills and 15 assists against No. 4 Florida. On September 17, in Minnesota's first match as the top-ranked team in the nation, Bowman posted 11 kills, 22 digs and 30 assists to help the Gophers survive a 3-2 scare against Rice.
The Conquer of Troy
In front of nearly 3,000 fans in Huff Hall two weeks ago, 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.
Ohio State's Gordon Eyes All-Time Big Ten Kill Mark
Ohio State's Stacey Gordon, who set a Big Ten record last season with 6.62 kills per game, has her eyes set on the all-time Big Ten kill record of 2,379, set by Minnesota's Nicole Branagh from 1997-2000.
Currently, the Buckeye senior has 2,180 kills for her career, 199 shy of the record. Gordon, who is averaging 7.00 kills per game through 32 games this season, is on pace to break the mark in approximately 29 games.
Gordon leaped over fifth-place (Debbie McDonald, PUR, 2,108) and into fourth-place all-time in Big Ten history, surpassing Minnesota's Andrea Gonzalez's mark of 2,140. Gordon recorded 85 kills in the first week of play this season to surpass the 2,000 plateau, making her 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. Indiana's Christina Archibald surpassed the 1,500-kill plateau September 18 and now stands at 1,564 for her career. Minnesota's Erin Martin (1,349) and Michigan's Jennifer Gandolph (1,328) are also quickly approaching the 1,500-kill mark.
Gordon Named AVCA National Player of the Week
After earning her 12th career Big Ten Player of the Week honor last week, Ohio State's Stacey Gordon was honored by the AVCA as the National Player of the Week. It was Gordon's second career weekly honor by the AVCA.
Gordon Extends Double-Figure Streak for Kills
Ohio State's Stacey Gordon has extended her double-figure kill streak to 86 after tallying double-digit totals in each of her four matches last weekend. She has had double-figure kills in 99 of 101 career matches including 59 matches with 20 or more.
Big Ten Ranks Among Nation's Best
As of September 12, the Big Ten boasted several of its teams and student-athletes at or near the top of the NCAA statistical rankings. Ohio State's Stacey Gordon leads the nation in kills per game, while teammate Marisa Main is second in the country in assists per game. In team categories, top-ranked Minnesota leads the nation in assists per game and is second in kills per game, while Ohio State also ranks near the top in assists per game (3rd), hitting percentage (4th) and kills per game (4th).
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 303-108 in his 13th season as a head coach and has 94 wins at the Michigan helm, third-best on the all-time list.
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.
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 (808).
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.