Big Ten Volleyball Weekly Release - Sept. 27, 2011
Sept. 27, 2011
First Serve: After the first week of Big Ten play, three conference teams hold unblemished 2-0 conference records. Illinois, Nebraska and Purdue each won their first two Big Ten matches, with the Fighting Illini (13-0) and Boilermakers (13-0) continuing their season-opening unbeaten streaks. The conference slate continues this week with 10 of 12 matches broadcast nationally or streamed live online.
They're No. 1: Illinois has earned the top ranking in the country in the latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, marking the first No. 1 ranking in program history. The Illini earned the top spot after winning their first two conference matches, pushing their overall record to a perfect 13-0. The Illini are the fourth Big Ten team to be ranked as the nation's top team, joining Minnesota, Nebraska and Penn State. The Golden Gophers last earned the No. 1 ranking in 2004, while Penn State last earned the top mark in the 2011 preseason poll. The Huskers last earned the top ranking while a member of the Big 12 in 2007.
All They Do is Win: Illinois and Purdue are two of the three remaining undefeated Division I teams, boasting identical 13-0 records through five weeks of competition. The top-ranked Illini are enjoying the second-best start in program history, while the 12th-ranked Boilermakers have reached 13-0 for the first time since 1985. The two squads square off this Saturday in Champaign, Ill., at 7 p.m. CT.
Where We Rank: Three Big Ten teams join Illinois in the top 10 nationally, with Nebraska at No. 7, Penn State checking in at No. 9 and Minnesota standing at No. 10 in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll. Purdue ranks 13th, followed by No. 17 Michigan and No. 24 Ohio State. The Big Ten's seven top-25 teams is the highest total of any conference.
Statistically Speaking: Several Big Ten players hold top-10 spots in the NCAA statistical rankings. Penn State's Micha Hancock is second in aces per set (0.73), while Michigan's Alex Hunt follows in fourth (0.60), and Ohio State's Emily Danks is 10th (0.54). Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus is fifth in the country in points per set (5.38) and seventh in kills per set (4.73), while Purdue's Ariel Turner ranks eighth in points (5.28) and fellow Boilermaker Tiffany Fisher is fourth in hitting percentage (.419). Minnesota's Mia Tabberson is seventh in assists per set (11.81) and is followed by Michigan's Lexi Dannemiller in ninth (11.69), while Michigan State's Alexis Mathews ranks 10th in blocks per set (1.49).
Statistically Speaking, Part Two: In the team statistical rankings, Michigan State leads the country in hitting percentage (.321) and is ninth in blocks per set (3.01). Michigan is second in kills per set (14.9), fourth in aces per set (2.0) and fifth in assists per set (13.71), while Ohio State follows in third in kills per set (14.89) and holds the same spot in assists per set (13.85).
Don't Touch That Dial: Ten of this week's 12 Big Ten matches will be telecast live or streamed online. Wednesday's Purdue-Northwestern match (8 p.m. ET), Saturday's Minnesota-Penn State contest (6 p.m.) and Sunday's Wisconsin-Ohio State match (6 p.m.) will each be shown live on BTN, while Saturday's Nebraska-Michigan showdown will be streamed live on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. and telecast on ESPN2 on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Additionally, all five of the conference's matches on Friday will be streamed live at www.BTN.com.
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