Oct. 2, 2006
Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
Intrastate Rivals to Open This Week's Play
No. 9 Purdue, which owns its highest national ranking since it was seventh in the Nov. 14, 1983 poll, will travel to rival Indiana on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Following Wednesday's match, the Big Ten will boast at least one intraconference top-25 matchup on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. On Friday, No. 24 Minnesota will travel to No. 2 Penn State and No. 13 Wisconsin will face No. 14 Ohio State. Saturday's top-25 battle will highlight the Wisconsin and Penn State, while Minnesota heads to Ohio State on Sunday.
Big Ten's Depth Unmatched in Conference History
Two weeks into the conference season, the Big Ten remains just one of two (Big 12) major conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, SEC) that boasts all its member volleyball squads with an overall winning percentage of .500 or better. Prior to this year, the Big Ten had never experienced this top-to-bottom success with all teams at .500 or better after two weeks into the conference season. In addition, seven teams this year still remain above the .700 mark.
Penn State Still Perfect
At 15-0, second-ranked Penn State is one of only five undefeated teams in the country, UCLA (17-0), Southern California (15-0), Nebraska (13-0) and Princeton (11-0). 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.
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. 9 Purdue, No. 14 Wisconsin, No. 14 Ohio State and No. 24 Minnesota. Illinois and Michigan are currently receiving votes outside the top 25.
Comcast to Broadcast Top-25 Big Ten Matchup
Continuing its coverage of Big Ten volleyball, Comcast SportsNet Chicago will air a top-25 matchup this week featuring a pair of teams that stand undefeated at 4-0 in conference play. No. 2 Penn State (15-0, 4-0 Big Ten) will host No. 24 Minnesota (10-4, 4-0) on Friday, Oct. 6. The match, which will feature Big Ten co-Player of the Week honorees Christa Harmotto from Penn State and Minnesota's Meredith Nelson, will air on tape-delay on Sunday, Oct. 8, at Noon CT.
Gophers' Hebert to be Inducted into Hall of Fame
The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced Sept. 28 that former Illinois head coach and current Minnesota mentor Mike Hebert will be one of seven individuals inducted into its Hall of Fame. A member of the fourth annual Hall of Fame Class, Hebert will be honored at the 2006 AVCA Annual Convention, Dec. 11-16, at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. The five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year has led his teams to the NCAA semifinals four times, twice at Illinois (1987-88) and twice at Minnesota (2003-04). He is only the third coach in Division I history to bring two different programs to the NCAA semifinals and is the only coach to do so with two programs from the same conference.
Big Ten Boasts Nation's Best in Four NCAA Stats
According to the latest NCAA stats, through Sept. 24, Michigan State is the nation's top assists (16.60) and kills (18.13), while Penn State ranks second in hitting percentage (.354) and third in blocks (3.76). Michigan State's Allison Ianni (13.78) and Illinois' Lizzie Bazzetta (13.72) are the highest-ranked conference standouts as they rank third and fourth, respectively, in assists per game.
Underclass Yet Ahead of the Class
A pair of Big Ten underclassmen currently sit atop the conference rankings in hitting percentage, as Penn State sophomore Christa Harmotto leads the group of hitters at .506, followed by Ohio State freshman Meghan Simons at .433. Currently, Harmotto's impressive clip is well ahead of the Big Ten's single-season record of .455, set by Illinois' Mary Eggers in 1986.
Spartans' Ianni Highlighted in Big Ten Feature
As part of the Big Ten's 25th Anniversary of Women's Championships campaign, Michigan State senior Allison Ianni has been highlighted in a feature on the campaign's website this week, which can be found at bigten.org. The transfer from Pacific is the lone conference standout to record a triple-double this season, as she posted 11 kills, 10 digs and 55 assists against IPFW on Aug. 25.
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.