Big Ten Weekly Volleyball Release - Oct. 22

Penn State's Russ Rose

Penn State's Russ Rose

Oct. 22, 2013

Rosemont, Ill. -

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Attached you will find the Big Ten volleyball weekly release, complete with updated standings, statistics, news and notes from around the conference.

BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT – Illinois’ Disa Johnson:
A 1988 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, Disa Johnson led the Illini to a 124-28 record in her four seasons. She guided Illinois to three NCAA Championship appearances, including the national semifinals in 1987, and a pair of Big Ten titles (1986-87). The setter ranks second in Illinois history in assists (5,550), third in aces (154) and 10th in block assists (339). She led the Illini in assists all four years she competed and topped the conference in that category for two years (1985-86). The Western Springs, Ill., native was an AVCA All Mideast Region team honoree (1987), a second-team Academic All-American (1987), and a three-time All-Big Ten selection and Academic All-Big Ten pick (1985-87). Johnson was also named to the Big Ten All-Decade Team in 1992. She earned a master’s degree from Illinois in kinesiology and sports administration in 1992. Following her playing career, Johnson entered the coaching realm. She was an assistant coach with the Illini from 1990-93. She was the head coach at Missouri from 1994-99 and James Madison from 2000-09, where she was named CAA Coach of the Year twice in 2002 and 2006. Johnson returned to Champaign this fall when her husband, Ron Garner, was named head coach of the Illinois Women’s Track & Field program.

First Serve: After the fourth week of Big Ten play, Penn State sits atop the conference standings at  7-1. Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska follow at 6-2, while Wisconsin has posted a 5-3 mark. The conference slate continues this week with five top-25 tilts and 10 of the 12 matches on BTN or BTDN.

Where We Rank: Ten Big Ten teams received recognition in this week’s AVCA Coaches’ poll, including eight in the top 25, which leads all conferences. The Big Ten is led by No. 2 Penn State, followed by No. 7 Minnesota, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 17 Michigan, No. 21 Purdue and No. 24 Ohio State. Illinois and Northwestern are also receiving votes. The Nittany Lions jumped two spots in the poll, while the Wildcats earned recognition for the first time this season.

Reppin’ in the RPI: According to the latest RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday, 10 Big Ten teams appear in the top 50, the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 12 Minnesota, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 25 Illinois, No. 27 Michigan, No. 33 Ohio State, No. 35 Purdue and No. 42 Northwestern.

Top-25 Tilts: So far this season, 21 of the 48 conference matches have featured two teams in the top-25 (44 percent). Twenty-seven of the 48 tilts (56 percent) have featured two squads ranked or receiving votes in the national poll. Additionally, six of those matches have been top-10 battles. Penn State is 4-1 against ranked teams in conference play, while Minnesota and Nebraska are 4-2. Wisconsin will end this week having played seven consecutive matches against squads ranked or receiving votes, while Minnesota will have faced six in a row. 

Rose-y Record: Penn State Head Coach Russ Rose earned his 1,107th career victory Sunday afternoon as No. 4 Penn State swept Northwestern, 3-0. With the triumph, Rose moved into second on the NCAA Division I all-time wins list. Rose has been at the helm of the Nittany Lions for 35 seasons, accumulating a 1,107-177 (.862) career record and leading Penn State to 15 Big Ten titles and five national crowns, including four straight from 2007-10.

Statistically Speaking:
Numerous Big Ten standouts appear among the top 20 of the NCAA statistical leaders, which were released on Monday.  Penn State’s Micha Hancock is second in the nation in aces per set (0.68). In blocks per set, Penn State’s Katie Slay is fourth (1.57), Michigan State’s Alexis Mathews is fifth (1.51) and Minnesota’s Tori Dixon is 19th (1.37). Ohio State’s Kaitlyn Leary is fourth in kills per set (4.96), while Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski is 12th (4.54) and Nebraska’s Kelsey Robinson is 18th (4.49). Wicinski ranks seventh in points per set (5.36), Leary is ninth (5.32) and Robinson is 18th (5.02).  In hitting percentage, Slay is 13th (.424), Mathews is 16th (.421) and Penn State’s Nia Grant is 20th (.407).