Oct. 2, 2012
First Serve: Penn State and Purdue share first place in the Big Ten standings through two weeks of conference play, checking in at 4-0. This week’s conference schedule features four top-25 tilts and 11 of 12 matches televised or streamed online.
Where We Rank: The Big Ten again boasts seven top-25 teams, the most of any conference, including the top-ranked team in the nation for the second consecutive week as Penn State leads the way in this week’s AVCA Division I Coaches Poll. Nebraska moves up two spots to No. 4, while Minnesota remains at No. 10. Purdue climbs one spot to No. 12, while Ohio State jumps three spots to No. 19. Illinois remains at No. 21 and Michigan State sits at No. 25. Michigan is also receiving votes.
High Fives: The Big Ten boasts several student-athletes in the NCAA top five 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 (.63), Penn State’s Micha Hancock is third (.63) and Minnesota’s Daly Santana is tied for fourth (.57). Wicinski is also among the leaders in points per set (5.40), ranking fifth nationally. Three Big Ten standouts rank among the top five in hitting percentage, as Minnesota’s Tori Dixon ranks first (.479), Penn State’s Katie Slay is second (.466) and Michigan State’s Alexis Mathews is fifth (.484). In the team rankings, Michigan State and Minnesota are among the top five nationally in a pair of statistical categories. The Gophers rank second nationally in hitting percentage (.325) and fourth in assists per set (13.88), while the Spartans are fourth in kills (14.87) and fifth in aces per set (1.72).
No Place Like Home: Eight Big Ten teams appear among the nation’s top 30 in average attendance, with six conference teams in the top 10. Nebraska owns the second-highest attendance average in the country at 4,490, while Penn State (3,530), Minnesota (3,420) and Illinois (3,222) follow at Nos. 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Wisconsin is seventh (2,936), while Purdue (2,573) rounds out the top 10. Michigan State comes in at No. 26 (1,446), while Ohio State is No. 30 (1,243). Big Ten teams have also combined for a 57-19 (.750) record at home this season, with three teams owning undefeated records on their home courts. Purdue (8-0), Nebraska (7-0) and Penn State (7-0) have unblemished home records this season, while Michigan State and Minnesota have lost just one home match.
Don’t Touch That Dial: Eleven of this week’s 12 Big Ten matches will be televised or streamed online. Wednesday’s Michigan-Minnesota match and Friday’s Nebraska-Purdue contest will each be shown live at 8 p.m. ET on BTN, while Friday’s Michigan State-Wisconsin contest will air on tape delay at 11 p.m. ET on the network. 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.