Big Ten Volleyball Weekly Release - Oct. 25, 2011
Oct. 25, 2011
First Serve: Nebraska took over the top spot in the Big Ten standings and in the national rankings over the weekend. The Huskers moved to 10-0 in conference play after defeating then-top-ranked Illinois on Saturday night. Nebraska hits the road this week, competing in two top-25 showdowns against No. 23 Ohio State on Friday and No. 8 Penn State on Saturday. Other top-25 matchups include No. 11 Purdue visiting No. 22 Michigan on Friday and No. 3 Illinois hosting No. 15 Minnesota on Saturday.
The Week That Was: Nebraska earned its first win over a top-ranked opponent since 1990, defeating No. 1 Illinois in four sets to take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. The Huskers also earned a win against Iowa to put together another perfect week. Penn State and Purdue also notched back-to-back wins last week, as the Nittany Lions swept No. 23 Ohio State and No. 21 Michigan and the Boilermakers defeated Indiana, 3-2, and No. 14 Minnesota, 3-1.
Huskers Take Over as No. 1: Nebraska earned the No. 1 ranking in the latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, replacing Illinois as the top-ranked team in the country. The Huskers sit atop the poll for the first time since Oct. 22, 2007, and earn the No. 1 spot for the 82nd time in program history, good for the most of any school all-time. The Big Ten has now boasted the No. 1 team for the past five weeks and for six of the 10 weeks this season.
Illinois' Streak Ends in Lincoln: With a four-set loss to then-No. 4 Nebraska on Saturday, Illinois endured its first setback of the season. The Illini won 20 consecutive matches to open the season, leaving them as the last undefeated team in the country. The 20-0 start marked the second-best season-opening win streak in program history, having won 30 straight contests to open the 1985 season.
Where We Rank: Illinois follows top-ranked Nebraska at No. 3 in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll, while Penn State moves up one to No. 8. Purdue also moves up one spot, checking in at No. 11, while Minnesota is No. 15. Michigan stands at No. 22 this week, followed by No. 23 Ohio State. Michigan State is receiving votes in the latest poll. The Big ten again leads the nation with seven nationally ranked teams.
Three's Company: Illinois, Nebraska and Penn State have each earned a No. 1 national ranking this season, marking just the third time since 1982 that a conference has had three different top-ranked teams in one season. The Pac-10 accomplished the feat in 2004 with Stanford, USC and Washington, while the WCAA did the same in 1984 with Stanford, UCLA and USC.
Statistically Speaking: The Big Ten boasts top-10 performers in nearly every major NCAA statistical category. Penn State's Micha Hancock remains in second nationally in aces per set (0.82), while Ohio State's Emily Danks is ninth (0.52). Purdue's Tiffany Fisher ranks third in hitting percentage (.424), while Minnesota's Mia Tabberson holds the fourth-highest assists-per-set average at 11.85. Purdue's Ariel Turner is seventh in the country in kills per set (4.72) and points per set (5.39).
The Ratings Are In: The Big Ten again boasts nine top-50 teams in the national RPI, with six appearing in the top 20. The Big Ten's nine top-50 teams is the highest total of any conference in the nation. Illinois holds its spot atop the rankings, while Nebraska follows at No. 2. Minnesota drops two spots to No. 6 this week, while Penn State jumps eight spots to No. 11. Purdue follows at No. 13 after moving up three spots, while Michigan ranks 19th this week. Michigan State is 31st nationally, followed by Ohio State (43rd) and Wisconsin (48th).
Home Sweet Home: Fans continue to come out in droves to Big Ten volleyball matches, as six conference teams hold top-10 national attendance averages. Nebraska is second in the country, averaging 4,736 fans per match, while Minnesota is third (4,659), Wisconsin is fourth (3,520), Penn State is fifth (3,318), Illinois is eighth (2,505) and Purdue is 10th (2,383).