Oct. 19, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
For daily doses of Big Ten volleyball news, visit the Big Ten Volleyball Blog at http://www.bigten.org/blog/volley_blog.html
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
Fatima Balza, Penn State
Jr., Merida, Venezuela
Fatima Balza transferred to Penn State for her junior season after spending two years at Western Nebraska Community College. Originally from Merida, Venezuela, Balza began playing volleyball at the age of 12 and in 2003 left her hometown and moved to Caracas to train with the Venezuelan National Team. In her two years at WNCC, Balza helped win the 2007 NJCAA National Title and was a two-time All-American.
Big Ten Polling Place
The Big Ten remains the only conference in the nation with three top-10 teams in the AVCA coaches poll. Penn State once again leads the Big Ten and the country at No. 1. The Nittany Lions are followed by No. 8 Illinois, who moved up two spots from last week, and No. 9 Minnesota. Michigan comes in at No. 11, and Michigan State is receiving votes outside the top 25.
Ripping Up the RPI
In the second edition of the NCAA RPI report, issued Monday, the Big Ten once again led all conferences with four top-10 teams. Penn State leads the Big Ten at No. 3, followed closely by No. 4 Illinois, No. 6 Michigan and No. 7 Minnesota. The Big Ten ranks second in the nation with eight top-50 RPI squads, trailing only the Pac-10’s nine teams. Also representing the Big Ten in the top 50 are No. 18 Michigan State, No. 36 Ohio State, No. 40 Purdue and No. 48 Wisconsin. RPI is one of several tools used to select teams for the NCAA Championship.
Taking Down the Top
With a win over No. 6 Minnesota on Friday and an earlier win over then-No. 6 Michigan, Illinois has defeated two top-10 teams for the first time since 2004, when the Illini took down No. 1 USC and No. 7 Ohio State. Ranked No. 8 this week, Illinois is making its first back-to-back top-10 appearances since 1992.
Movin’ on Up
With 18 digs against Illinois on Wednesday, Northwestern’s Kate Nobilio moved into the Big Ten’s all-time top five for career digs. The senior needs just seven more saves to become the fourth player in conference history with 2,000 digs in her career.
The Big Ten continues to boast the nation’s most dedicated fans with an NCAA-leading six of the top 15 teams in average home attendance. Minnesota is third in the country with an average of 4,345 fans per contest, followed by No. 4 Wisconsin (3,832), No. 6 Penn State (3,070), No. 9 Illinois (2,489), No. 12 Purdue (2,277) and No. 15 Michigan State (1,963). The Illini broke their school record on Friday, welcoming 7,632 fans to Assembly Hall.
Big Ten Block Party
Big Ten players put up the nation’s toughest blocks, with four players ranking in the NCAA’s top 15 in stuffs per set. Penn State’s Arielle Wilson leads the conference and is fifth in the nation, averaging 1.52 blocks per set. She is followed by Illinois’ Johannah Bangert (7th, 1.50 bps), Minnesota’s Lauren Gibbemeyer (8th, 1.44 bps) and Northwestern’s Sabel Moffett (13th, 1.40 bps).
Big Ten volleyball is enjoying vast coverage during the 2009 season with 23 matches broadcast nationally on the Big Ten Network, ESPN2 and ESPNU. In addition, 21 more matches will be streamed on www.BigTenNetwork.com. The complete broadcast schedule can be found on Page 5 of this release.
Daily doses of Big Ten volleyball news can be found on the Big Ten Volleyball Blog, at http://www.bigten.org/blog/volley_blog.html. Keep track of Big Ten volleyball in real-time by logging on to Twitter and following @BigTenConf and @BigTenVal.