Big Ten Weekly Volleyball Release - Oct. 8

Penn State's Micha Hancock leads the nation in aces per set.

Penn State's Micha Hancock leads the nation in aces per set.

Oct. 8, 2013

Rosemont, Ill. -

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BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Iowa’s Janet Moylan: Awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1991, Moylan was a four-year letterwinner for the Hawkeyes, leading Iowa in assists and digs in each season she competed. She currently tops the Hawkeye record book in digs (1,931) and is seventh on the Big Ten’s list. She totaled 5,471 assists in her career, was a three-time All-Big Ten selection (1988-90) and a second-team AVCA All-Midwest Region Team pick in 1990. Moylan excelled off the court as well as she earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition three times (1988-90) and was tabbed a College of Pharmacy Collegiate Scholar in 1992. The Chicago, Ill., native was named Co-MVP of the Hawkeyes in 1989 and 1990, leading Iowa to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 1989.

First Serve: After the second week of Big Ten play, Michigan State and Nebraska each hold unblemished 4-0 conference records, Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin sit at 3-1 and Illinois and Ohio State have split their four matches at 2-2. The conference slate continues this week with six top-25 tilts and nine matches on BTN or BTDN.

Where We Rank: Eight Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 20 of this week’s AVCA Coaches’ poll, which leads all conferences. The Big Ten is led by No. 4 Penn State, followed by No. 7 Michigan State, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 17 Michigan, No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 20 Purdue. Illinois is also receiving votes.

The Best of the Best: Nebraska outside hitter Kelsey Robinson was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week, the third Big Ten player in a row to earn the honor and fourth this season. Robinson led No. 10 Nebraska to victories over No. 8 Minnesota and No. 23 Wisconsin last weekend, helping the Huskers to a 4-0 Big Ten record. On the week, the senior averaged 6.3 kills per set, 3.6 digs per set and posted a .417 hitting percentage. Other Big Ten student-athletes named National Player of the Week this season include Ohio State’s Kaitlyn Leary (Sept. 10), Northwestern’s Stephanie Holthus (Sept. 24) and Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski (Sept. 30).

Statistically Speaking: Numerous Big Ten standouts appear among the top 10 of the NCAA statistical leaders, which were released on Monday.  Penn State’s Micha Hancock tops the nation in aces per set (0.82), while Ohio State’s Kaitlyn Leary ranks fourth in kills per set (5.13). Leary is fifth in points per set (5.51), while Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski is eighth (5.44). Minnesota’s Tori Dixon is fifth in hitting percentage (.463), followed by Penn State’s Katie Slay in seventh (.461) and Michigan State’s Alexis Mathews in eighth (.459).  Slay is sixth in blocks per set (1.47) and Ohio State’s Taylor Sherwin is seventh in assists per set (11.75). As a team, Penn State is third in the nation in hitting percentage (.329) and Minnesota is fifth (.319).

Reppin’ in the RPI: According to the first RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday, nine Big Ten teams appear in the rating’s top 50, including eight among the top 30, the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the way at No. 5, followed by No. 7 Nebraska, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 21 Ohio State, No. 22 Illinois, No. 24 Minnesota and No. 27 Michigan. Purdue appears at No. 43.

Four for Fourteen: The Big Ten boasts four schools with at least 14 victories this season, the most among all conferences. Michigan State and Minnesota have each earned 15 wins on the year, while Ohio State and Wisconsin have both garnered 14 triumphs. In total, eight conference squads have earned double-digit wins this year and two others have posted nine victories.

Half and Half: Big Ten teams proved to be just as successful at home as they were on the road last week, splitting the 12 conference contests. Michigan State and Nebraska each went 2-0 in their arenas, while Penn State posted a 2-0 mark on the road. On the season, the Spartans and Huskers are 7-0 at home, while Minnesota is 5-0. Michigan State is also undefeated on the road with a 4-0 mark.