Oct. 6, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
CHELSEA NOBLE, Ohio State
Jr., Vandalia, Ohio / Vandalia-Butler
A junior libero, Noble has worked with Special Olympics during her transfer year at Ohio State and during her two seasons at Tennessee. She enjoys creating an opportunity for children to succeed in sports and becoming knowledgeable of their health and recreational activities. An Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, Noble sat out last year after two years at Tennessee where she was the starting setter for the Volunteers.
How “Sweep” It Is
Sixteen matches into the season, Penn State is not only undefeated, but is a perfect 48-0 in sets played. PSU is the only team in NCAA Division I to have not lost a single set so far this year and is one of just three undefeated squads. The Nittany Lions have won their last 29 straight Big Ten matches, dating back to 2006, and have emerged victorious in their last 42 consecutive matches overall, dating back to September of 2007. In addition, PSU is enjoying a tremendous home-court advantage, having won each of their last 46 home contests, dating back to 2005. This year marks the third consecutive season the Lions have opened their Big Ten season with four straight sweeps.
Gophers off to Golden Start
With a pair of wins over top-20 teams last weekend, Minnesota is off to its second consecutive 4-0 Big Ten start. Three of the Gophers’ four conference opponents have been nationally ranked as the squad has defeated then-No. 18 Wisconsin (3-1), then-No. 19 Illinois (3-2) and then-No. 18 Purdue (3-0). Overall, Minnesota is 6-1 against ranked foes this season, also with wins over then-No. 21 LSU (3-0), then-No. 16 Cal Poly (3-1) and then-No. 4 Cal (3-0), which matched the highest-ranked victory in program history.
Rosen Makes his Mark
Michigan head coach Mark Rosen recorded his 177th victory with the Wolverines against Northwestern on Saturday, tying him with Sandy Vong for most wins in program history. In his 10th season with the Maize and Blue, Rosen is 177-125 (.586).
Something Has to Give
A pair of teams unbeaten in conference play could go head-to-head on Saturday night in a matchup that will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. Minnesota and Penn State both enter this week at 4-0, but will have to face other challengers before meeting one another. The Gophers will face off against Indiana on Friday, while the Lions visit Iowa before heading north to Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Illinois sophomore Laura DeBruler recorded the program’s first 20-20 match since Oct. 12, 2002, with 24 kills and 22 digs against Minnesota on Friday. DeBruler’s performance is the only 20-20 match in the Big Ten so far this season.
Big Ten in the Polls
Six Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25 of the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll released on Monday, marking the second-highest total among the nation’s conferences. Leading the way, Penn State is the unanimous No. 1 selection and has held the top spot for each of this year’s seven polls.
Leaders of the Pack
Penn State senior Christa Harmotto has spent most of the season leading the NCAA in hitting percentage and continues to hold the top spot this week with a blistering .528 clip. Teammate Alisha Glass leads the NCAA in assists, averaging 12.48 helpers per set. As a team, the Nittany Lions rank first in hitting percentage at .403, while also ranking second in kills (15.15) and assists (14.13) per set. Minnesota is second in the nation in digs (18.41) and blocks (2.99) per set.
Big Ten on TV
The Big Ten’s 11 volleyball squads are enjoying vast exposure during the 2008 regular season with 23 matches airing on national television. Three matches hit the national airwaves this week, beginning on Wednesday as Wisconsin travels to Northwestern for a 7 p.m. CT matchup that will air live on the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Network will also broadcast a match between two potentially undefeated squads as Minnesota hosts Penn State on Saturday evening. The conference makes its first ESPN2 appearance of the season on Sunday as Friday night’s contest between Purdue and Michigan will air at 12:30 p.m. ET.