Oct. 24, 2005
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Halfway Home - PSU Opens League Lead to Two
After a pair of wins this past weekend, No. 3 Penn State has opened its quest for a third straight Big Ten title to a pair of matches in the league standings. The Nittany Lions are now a perfect 10-0 at the halfway mark in conference play and lead by two over second-place and 11th-ranked Wisconsin (8-2). No. 19 Ohio State and No. 16 Purdue, both 7-3 in league action, are tied for third, while No. 18 Minnesota sits fifth in the standings at 6-4.
Wisconsin is the featured team this week as the Badgers attempt to inch closer in the league standings with a road contest at Penn State on Friday. On Saturday, Wisconsin travels to Ohio State for the third and final nationally-televised match on ESPN2.
Five Big Ten Schools Ranked in Nation's Top 25
For the sixth consecutive week, five Big Ten teams are ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. Penn State (No. 3), Wisconsin (11), Purdue (16), Minnesota (18) and Ohio State (19) all found spots among the top 20 this week.
A Pair of Top-20 Teams to Battle on ESPN2
One week after sweeping No. 12 Minnesota on regional television, the 19th-ranked Buckeyes hit the national spotlight this weekend as they play host to No. 11 Wisconsin in a match that will appear on ESPN2. Saturday's 7 p.m. ET match will air on a tape-delay basis, Sunday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. ET. This week's match will mark the third and final Big Ten regular-season contest televised on ESPN2.
Earlier this month (Oct. 7), then No. 8-Wisconsin blanked the 18th-ranked Buckeyes, 3-0, in Madison.
Five League Teams Rank Among Top 20 For Fans
In the unofficial national attendance figures, which are compiled weekly by the University of Wisconsin, the Big Ten boasts five teams among the top 20 schools in the nation, which is more than any other conference. Wisconsin (No. 3) is currently averaging 3,846 patrons per match, while Minnesota (4) and Purdue (6) follow in the top six. Penn State (10) and Illinois (19) rank among the top 20 as well.
Big Ten Ranks Among NCAA Leaders
Several Big Ten standouts and teams are nationally ranked in many categories. As of Oct. 16, four student-athletes rank in the top 30 in blocks and digs per game, while three rank among the top 25 in assists and kills per game. Illinois' Rachel VanMeter (5.73) is the highest-ranked conference individual at No. 2 in kills per game. On the team side, five Big Ten squads rank among the top 30 in both assists and kills, while four rank in blocks and three in hitting percentage.
A Michigan Moment
With a thrilling 3-2 upset win over No. 7 Wisconsin on Saturday, Michigan knocked off its highest-ranked opponent in program history, equaling a win over No. 7 BYU in 1999. Not only was the victory against Wisconsin a first over UW for Wolverine head coach Mark Rosen, but it also marked the program's 500th win.
Hoosiers Also Looking For No. 500
Indiana is also in search for its 500th overall win after the Hoosiers earned No. 498 on Saturday with a 3-2 defeat over Illinois. On Friday, Indiana fell to intrastate rival Purdue, 3-0, in front of 1,265 fans -- the second-largest crowd in University Gym history.
Fifteen Years No More
Northwestern's 3-0 sweep over Michigan on Friday marked the Wildcats' first victory in Ann Arbor since 1990.
Fifteen Years No More - Part II
Purdue is now 18-3 on the season, which marks the most wins for the Boilermakers since the 1990. Their 7-3 Big Ten record is also its best since 1990.
Easy In, Easy Out
Dating back to the 2004 season, Penn State has won 21 straight conference matches, including 16 by a 3-0 margin. The Nittany Lions have posted sweeps in 9-of-10 league matches this year and currently own an overall win streak of 13.
Two Standouts Eyeing Career Top-10 in Assists
A pair of Big Ten standouts -- Penn State's Sam Tortorello and Purdue's Renata Dargan -- is quickly approaching the career top 10 lists for assists. Currently, Tortorello has 5,536 career assists, which ranks eighth in conference history. Dargan's total of 5,342 is 12th-best all-time in the Big Ten. Judging by their assist totals from last year, both players have a legitimate shot at breaking the Big Ten's all-time career assists mark of 6,024, currently held by Minnesota's Sharon Oesterling from 1986-89.