Sept. 21, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
For daily updates on Big Ten volleyball, visit the Big Ten Volleyball Blog: http://www.bigten.org/blog/volley_blog.html
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
Kate Nobilio, Northwestern
Sr., Johnsburg, Ill.
Kate Nobilio has placed her mark on the Northwestern and Big Ten record books. She is NU’s all-time digs leader with 1,863 (through Sept. 19), and is the conference’s active leader, ranking ninth in Big Ten history, poised to become just the fifth conference player to reach 2,000 career digs. Being a defensive specialist runs in her family, as her sister Brittany is the NCAA Division I record holder, finishing her career at Eastern Kentucky averaging 5.88 digs per set, also ranking third all-time with 2,454 career digs.
Big Ten Polling Place
The Big Ten continues to place three teams in the top 10 of the AVCA coaches poll, led by No. 1 Penn State, who holds the top spot for the 28th consecutive week. Michigan and Minnesota follow at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively, while Illinois comes in at No. 15 and Michigan State is ranked 16th, marking the program’s highest position since 2003. Purdue is receiving votes outside the top 25. The Pac-10 is the only other conference with three top-10 teams.
New and Improved
Two Big Ten teams have already matched or surpassed their win totals from a season ago, with a couple others on track to do the same. Northwestern owns a 9-3 record this season, already better than its eight-win total from a year ago. The Wildcats have won their last six matches and their last three early-season tournaments. At 12-1, Ohio State has matched its win total from last season. The Buckeyes have won their last eight matches, most recently winning three at their own Sports Imports Classic. With a 12-0 start, Michigan State is three wins away from matching its 2008 total, while Indiana and Iowa need six more wins each to reach last year’s mark.
Conference play opens this weekend with Penn State looking for its seventh straight Big Ten title. Conference teams combined to go 106-23 (.822) in non-conference play, including eight wins over top-25 opponents. The first 2009 Big Ten conference match will be played on Wednesday as Wisconsin hosts Iowa at 7 p.m. CT live on the Big Ten Network.
Packing the House
Six Big Ten teams rank among the nation’s top 15 in average home attendance, which is more than any other conference. Minnesota is third in the country with an average of 5,371 fans per game, followed by Wisconsin (6th, 3,528), Penn State (9th, 2,644), Purdue (11th, 2,374), Illinois (13th, 1,740) and Michigan State (14th, 1,627).
Stats on the Streak
Penn State’s NCAA-record winning streak continued over the weekend as the Nittany Lions posted two sweeps over Temple and another against St. Francis. PSU has won its last 76 overall matches, boasting an equally impressive streak at home, having been victorious in its last 62 at Rec Hall.
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. In addition, 21 more matches will be streamed on www.BigTenNetwork.com. The complete broadcast schedule can be found on Page 5 of this release. 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.