Big Ten Weekly Volleyball Release - Oct. 29

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

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

Oct. 29, 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 – Indiana’s Karen Dunham: A 1988 recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Karen Dunham was a four-year letterwinner for Indiana from 1984-87. Dunham is the only Hoosier to have been named an All-Big Ten selection all four years she played. She was a first-team pick in 1985 and earned second-team recognition in 1984, 1986 and 1987. The outsider hitter was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1984 and earned honorable mention All-America accolades in 1985. In the Hoosier record book Dunham ranks second in aces (154), third in assists (3,925), 10th in block solos (46) and 14th in digs (786). The Muncie, Ind., native collected Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1987 and played at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1985 and 1986. 

First Serve: After the fifth week of Big Ten play, Penn State sits atop the conference standings at  9-1. Nebraska is second at 8-2, while Minnesota is third at 7-3. Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin are tied for fourth with matching 6-4 Big Ten marks. The conference slate continues this week with eight matches featuring two teams ranked or receiving votes in the top-25, including three on BTN.

Where We Rank: Ten Big Ten teams received recognition in this week’s AVCA Coaches’ poll, including seven in the top 20, which leads all conferences. The Big Ten is led by No. 2 Penn State, followed by No. 10 Minnesota, No. 11 Nebraska, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 16 Purdue, and No. 17 Michigan. Illinois, Northwestern and Ohio State are also receiving votes. The Boilermakers jumped five spots in the poll, while the Huskers moved up two positions.

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, including seven in the top 25, the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 22 Illinois, No. 23 Michigan State, No. 25 Michigan, No. 30 Purdue, No. 37 Ohio State and No. 46 Northwestern.

Top-25 Tilts: So far this season, 26 of the 60 conference matches have featured two teams in the top-25 (.433). Thirty-five of the 60 tilts (.583) 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 5-1 against ranked teams in conference play, while Nebraska is 5-2. Michigan will end this week having played six consecutive matches against squads ranked or receiving votes, while Ohio State will have faced five in a row. 

Home Sweet Home: Five Big Ten schools boast a winning percentage of at least .800 on their home court this season. Minnesota is an unblemished 8-0 in its arena this season, while Penn State is 10-1 and Nebraska is 9-1. Michigan State and Northwestern have both earned 9-2 marks on their respective home courts so far this year.

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 leads the nation in aces per set (0.77), while Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski is 19th (0.45). Wicinski is ninth in points per set (5.25), followed by Ohio State’s Kaitlyn Leary in 12th (5.14) and Nebraska’s Kelsey Robinson in 17th (5.03). In kills per set, Leary ranks sixth (4.80) and Robinson and Wicinksi follow at 16th (4.47) and 19th (4.25), respectively. Penn State’s Katie Slay ranks third in blocks per set (1.59) and Michigan State’s Alexis Mathews is sixth (1.53). Mathews is 14th in hitting percentage (.427), followed by Slay in 16th (.420) and fellow Nittany Lion Nia Grant in 17th (0.415). With 11.4 assists per set, Northwestern’s Caleigh Ryan ranks 17th nationally. Teams in the top 10 include Penn State fourth in hitting percentage (0.319) and eighth in match win-loss percentage (.900). The Nittany Lions are also seventh in blocks  per set (2.95) and Minnesota follows in eighth (2.90).





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