Sept. 25, 2006
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Four Teams Sit at 2-0 After Week One
After the first week of conference play, four teams sit atop the Big Ten standings at 2-0. Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin all grabbed a pair of victories in week one, while Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State all earned splits.
Illinois will travel to Northwestern on Wednesday to open week two of conference action. Friday's slate is highlighted by No. 13 Ohio State at No. 11 Purdue, which will turnaround and host No. 2 Penn State on Saturday. Minnesota will host Michigan State in a Sunday matinee to conclude the Big Ten schedule this week.
Conference Teams Continuing Success Above .500
All 11 Big Ten volleyball squads are continuing their winning ways this season as each conference team remains above a .500 winning percentage entering week two of conference play. This top-to-bottom success has not reached this point in the season since Sept. 28, 1998. Ironically, Penn State was also undefeated at that time and was tied for first in the Big Ten standings at 2-0. In addition, over half of the conference teams this year still remain above the .800 mark.
Big Ten to Appear on Small Screen Twice This Week
Two Big Ten matchups will be televised this week, including a top-15 battle on national television. No. 13 Ohio State travels to No. 11 Purdue on Friday for a match that will be shown on a tape delay Sunday, Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Fans can watch Friday's Iowa and Northwestern match on Sunday, as Comcast SportsNet Chicago will air the conference contest between the Hawkeyes and Wildcats on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 3 p.m. CT.
Five Schools Ranked in Nation's Top 25
Five Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 25 of the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll. Penn State, which earned 13 first-place votes, leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 2, followed by No. 11 Purdue, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 24 Michigan. Minnesota continues to receive votes outside the top 25.
Penn State Still Perfect
At 13-0, second-ranked Penn State is one of only six undefeated teams in the country, joining New Mexico State (16-0), UCLA (15-0), Southern California (13-0), Nebraska (12-0) and Princeton (9-0). Last year, Purdue was the last Big Ten team to remain undefeated at 11-0, while Ohio State stretched its start out to 19-0 in 2004 before suffering its first loss.
Boilers and Spartans Set Big Ten Scoring Record
This past Friday, the Purdue Boilermakers needed 22 points in the deciding fifth game to oust Michigan State for the 3-2 win. The 22-20 final marked a Big Ten record for the most points ever scored in a deciding fifth game. It was the highest scoring fifth game in a Big Ten contest since Illinois defeated Ohio State, 20-18, in the final game on Sept. 24, 2005. The previous fifth-game record high for all games was set on Sept. 19, 1995, when Iowa State upended Iowa in the last frame, 21-19, en route to a 3-2 victory in Iowa City.
Speaking of Michigan State...and 1995
At 10-2 and 1-1 in conference play, Michigan State is still riding its best start since the 1995 season when the Spartans won their first-ever Big Ten Championship and advanced to the NCAA semifinals.
This past week, two significant milestones were reached by a pair of Big Ten student-athletes. Michigan's Katie Bruzdzinski eclipsed 1,000 career kills in just 76 matches, which made her the fastest Wolverine to do so in school history. Also, Wisconsin junior Jackie Simpson surpassed the 3,000 mark for career assists and became the sixth UW setter to achieve that milestone.
Big Ten Boasts Nation's Best in Four NCAA Stats
Ohio State is the nation's top team in hitting percentage at .381, while Michigan State ranks first nationally in assists per game (16.87) and kills per game (18.32). According to the latest NCAA stats, through Sept. 17, Penn State is also second in the country in hitting percentage (.364).
Illini Standout Stars in Big Ten Campaign
Beth Vrdsky, a senior specialist on the Illinois squad, is one of 11 selected student-athletes that will be the face of the Big Ten Conference this year as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary of Women's Championships. Vrdsky has been featured in a 30-second public service announcement "sharing her story" about her dreams of becoming a fighter pilot. To learn more about Vrdsky, as well as the conference's year-long campaign, log on to bigten.org.