Sept. 25, 2012
First Serve: After the first week of Big Ten play, Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue hold unblemished 2-0 conference records, while six teams posted 1-1 marks. The conference slate continues this week with four top-25 tilts and 11 of 12 matches broadcast nationally or streamed live online.
Where We Rank: Seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, the most of any conference, led by No. 1 Penn State. The Nittany Lions top the rankings for the first time this season, jumping three spots from last week’s poll. Nebraska sits at No. 6, followed by No. 10 Minnesota and No. 13 Purdue. Illinois checks in at No. 21, Ohio State is No. 22 and Michigan State is No. 24. Michigan is also receiving votes.
Head of the CLASS: Nebraska’s Gina Mancuso and Purdue’s Ariel Turner are among 30 volleyball student-athletes named candidates for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Ten finalists will be chosen midway through the season and placed on a ballot to be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans. The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2012 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship, which will be held on December 13 and 15 in Louisville, Ky.
Statistically Speaking: Big Ten players again decorate the NCAA’s top 10 in various statistical categories. Three of the top four performers in aces per set hail from Big Ten teams as Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski is second (.65), Penn State’s Micha Hancock is third (.60) and Minnesota’s Daly Santana is tied for fourth (.58). Wicinski is also among the leaders in points per set (5.44), ranking fourth nationally. Four Big Ten standouts rank among the top six in hitting percentage. Minnesota’s Tori Dixon ranks first (.508), Michigan State’s Alexis Mathews is second (.484), Illinois’ Anna Dorn is fifth (.461) and Penn State’s Katie Slay is sixth (.457).
Statistically Speaking, Part Two: In the team rankings, Minnesota leads the country in hitting percentage (.341), ranks third in assists (14.27) and fourth in kills per set (14.96). Michigan State is third in kills (14.98), fourth in hitting percentage (.321) and seventh in aces per set (1.77). Penn State is seventh in hitting percentage (.312) and 10th in kills (14.64), while Nebraska is seventh in blocks per set.
Don’t Touch That Dial: Eleven of this week’s 12 Big Ten matches will be telecast live or streamed online. Wednesday’s Michigan State-Nebraska match, Friday’s Ohio State-Minnesota contest and Saturday’s Illinois-Purdue match will each be shown live at 8 p.m. ET on BTN. Additionally, eight of the conference’s matches will be streamed live at www.BTN.com.
We’ve Got You Covered: Now there are more ways than ever to follow Big Ten volleyball. The Big Ten volleyball blog can be accessed directly at www.bigten.org/blog/volleyball and features notes, links to articles, previews, recaps and more. Keep track of Big Ten volleyball by following the conference on Twitter @BigTenConf and @B1GVolleyball, and become a fan of the Big Ten Conference on Facebook.