Nov. 4, 2004
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Wisconsin Tops Wildcats on Wednesday to Open League Play
Big Ten play began this week with Wisconsin (16-5, 10-3, Big Ten) defeating Northwestern (8-15, 3-10) on Wednesday, 3-0. The Wildcats will now travel to Illinois on Saturday for a 7 p.m. match that will be televised on ESPN2 on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Minnesota Hosts Pair of Top-Ten Big Ten Matchups
For the 18th and 19th time in Big Ten history and the third and fourth occasion this season, two Conference teams ranked in the top 10 nationally will battle against one another. No. 6 Penn State (19-2, 10-2) travels to No. 5 Minnesota (21-3, 10-2) on Friday, November 5, in a rematch of the Golden Gophers' 3-2 win over the Nittany Lions on October 2. The Gophers will then turn around and face No. 7 Ohio State (21-1, 11-1) on Saturday.
Earlier in the year, Minnesota met both teams in historic matches. Against Ohio State, then top-ranked Minnesota fell to the Buckeyes, 3-1, with the outcome bumping the Gophers from the top spot the following week. Minnesota rebounded the next night at Penn State when the Gophers brought their No. 1 ranking into State College and defeated then-No. 4 Penn State, 3-2 (34-36, 30-28, 30-27, 26-30, 15-11). The match marked the highest-ranking matchup in Big Ten history and only the second time ever that two League teams faced off while each were nationally ranked in the top five. The only other time this scenario occurred in Conference history was when No. 4 Ohio State battled No. 5 Penn State on November 29, 1994.
Three Conference Teams Rank Among Top Ten
For the fourth time this season and only the fifth time in Big Ten history, three teams rank in the top 10 nationally. In the latest USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll, Minnesota is ranked No. 5, followed by No. 6 Penn State and No. 7 Ohio State. Illinois is the fourth Big Ten school ranked in the top 25 as the Fighting Illini are currently 25th. Wisconsin was the leading vote recipient outside the top 25.
Gophers Say Just Bring it
Minnesota has built a record of 21-3 this season, with seven of those 24 matches coming against top 25 competition. Currently, Minnesota holds a record of 5-2 versus top 20 teams and a 4-1 record against teams in the top 15.
Opponent (Now Ranked) ... W/L ... Date
#1 USC (4) ... L, 2-3 ... 8/28/04
#4 Penn State (6) ... W, 3-2 ... 10/2/04
#4 Florida (8) ... W, 3-2 ... 9/11/04
#6 Penn State (6) ... ??? ... 11/5/04
#7 Ohio State (7) ... ??? ... 11/6/04
#11 Colorado State (9) ... W, 3-1 ... 8/27/04
#15 Kansas State (18) ... W, 3-2 ... 9/10/04
#16 Ohio State (7) ... L, 1-3 ... 10/1/04
#23 Illinois (25) ... W, 3-1 ... 10/16/04
8 Wins to 800
Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert stands just eight wins away from the 800-victory milestone only seven total and four active coaches have ever reached. Hebert, in his ninth year at Minnesota, has recorded a career record of 792-337 (.702), as head coach of the Gophers, Illinois (1983-95), New Mexico (1980-82) and Pittsburgh (1976-79).
Penn State head coach Russ Rose is also one of the four active coaches to have reached 800 wins as he eclipsed the mark in the Nittany Lions' season opener. On September 3, PSU swept Rutgers 3-0, to make Rose only the sixth coach in Division I history to reach the 800-win plateau. Currently, Rose ranks second all-time among active coaches in winning percentage (.845, Hawaii's Dave Shoji-.850) and third all-time in victories (818).
Badgers Upset Minnesota in Madison
Wisconsin upset No. 2 Minnesota Saturday night in a thrilling 3-2 match in Madison. Saturday's win, which was witnessed by a season-high crowd of 5,136 at the UW Field House, marked the first time since 2001 that the Badgers had beaten an opponent ranked as high as No. 2, when they last did it against USC. The win was Wisconsin's seventh straight.
Michigan State's Erbe Earns 550th Career Win
Michigan State head coach Chuck Erbe earned his 550th career win on October 27, with a 3-2 victory over intrastate rival Michigan. Erbe, now in his 12th year in East Lansing, was head coach at Southern California from 1976-1888, before taking the helm of the Spartans in 1993.
Michigan's Rosen Joins Century Club With Wolverines
Michigan head coach Mark Rosen captured his 100th win with the Maize and Blue against Northwestern on October 22, marking the second milestone for the Wolverine mentor this season. Rosen, in his 13th year, recorded his 300th career victory on September 11 against Oakland.
Gentil Digging Away in Big Ten Record Books
Minnesota junior libero Paula Gentil has closed in on second place on the Big Ten all-time digs list with 1,798 career digs. Gentil is now just 122 digs out of second place (1,920 - Susan Wohlford, Wisconsin, 1988-91) and 133 away from the all-time Big Ten record (1,931 - Janet Moylan, Iowa, 1987-90). Gentil broke her own school record with 39 digs (13.0 dpg) against Michigan on September 25, bettering her previous high of 37 against then-No. 1 USC on August 28 in five games. Gentil's school record marked just the first time a League player has recorded 39 or more digs in a match since October 20, 1990.
Ohio State's Gordon Sets All-Time Big Ten Kill Mark
Ohio State's Stacey Gordon, who set a Big Ten record last season with 6.62 kills per game, broke the all-time Big Ten kill record of 2,379, established by Minnesota's Nicole Branagh from 1997-2000, on October 15. Her record-breaking kill came on her 27th of 31 kills against the Wolverines. Gordon currently stands at 2,493 kills for her career, which is sixth on the NCAA Division I career kills list. She stands 182 kills behind No. 5 Priscilla Pacheco (1991-94) of Georgia who has 2,675.
NCAA Career Leaders in Kills
Player, Team (Years, Games) Kills
1. Svetlana Vtyurina, George Washington (92-95, 488) 3,043
2. Javonne Brooks, New Orleans (89-92, 597) 2,932
3. Tara Cross, Long Beach State (86-89, 488) 2,767
4. Michelle Collier, South Florida (98-02, 481) 2,729
5. Priscilla Pacheco, Georgia (91-94, 480) 2,675
6. Stacey Gordon, Ohio State (01-Pres., 413) 2,493
Three Standouts Setting Own Marks in Kills History
Several other Big Ten student-athletes have their sights set on individual marks for kills this season as well. Indiana's Christina Archibald has 1,702 kills over her career, while Minnesota's Erin Martin is only the seventh Gopher to record 1,500 kills in a career, as she now has 1,564 kills. Michigan's Jennifer Gandolph (1,471) is also quickly approaching the 1,500-kill mark.
Gopher Setter Tabbed AVCA National Player of the Week
Minnesota's Kelly Bowman, a sophomore setter that was last week's Big Ten co-Player of the Week, earned national recognition as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Division I Player of the Week. The honor mark the second time this season a Big Ten student-athlete has received the honor from the AVCA. Ohio State's Stacey Gordon was recognized on September 13.
Illinois Sweeps Ohio State From Ranks of Unbeaten
On October 23, Illinois knocked a team from the ranks of the unbeaten for the second time this season. The No. 24 Fighting Illini upset No. 7 Ohio State, 3-0, in Champaign, snapping the Buckeyes' 19-match winning streak. Earlier this year, the Illini upset two-time defending national champion and then-No. 1 USC in Champaign, ending the Women of Troy's 52-match winning streak. The win against OSU marked the first time since 1995 that Illinois had defeated two Top 10 teams in the same season when the Illini knocked off No. 8 Penn State and No. 9 Ohio State in back-to-back nights.
Ohio State Wins 3-2 Thriller in Battle of Top 10 Teams
No. 7 Ohio State topped then-No. 5 Penn State, 3-2, in State College on October 20 in the 17th match in League history two Big Ten teams ranked in the nation's top 10 battled in Conference action. On October 2, then-No. 4 Penn State dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to top-ranked Minnesota, marking the highest-ranked match in Big Ten history. Of the 17 matches in which Big Ten teams have been ranked in the top 10, the Nittany Lions have been a participant on 15 occasions.
Northwestern's Robertson Goes "Wild" Against Indiana
Despite falling 3-2 to Indiana on October 16, Northwestern received a top-notch performance by senior Drew Robertson. She became the third League player this year to record a triple-double when she turned in 11 kills, 27 digs and 57 assists. Robertson joins Minnesota's Kelly Bowman (6) and Michigan's Lisa Gamalski (2) as the only League players to record at least one triple-double this season.
Nearly 11,000 Gopher Fans Help Minnesota Set Record
On October 16, Minnesota broke a school record for attendance with 10,927 fans for a match at Williams Arena. The 10,927 fans that came to see the Gophers defeat then-No. 23 Illinois, were the most fans to attend a Division I volleyball match this season. Minnesota's old record of 6,046 was set in Williams Arena on September 28, 1990 against Purdue.
The Minnesota-Illinois match was the second-highest attended match between two Big Ten teams in the history of the League. The highest attended match came when 10,935 fans watched Illinois and Wisconsin battle on November 30, 1990, in Madison.
Crashing The Net
In the past three weeks, three Big Ten season highs have been recorded at the net by League standouts. Two weeks ago, Penn State's Sam Tortorello set a season high for assists with 74 in a 3-2 loss to Ohio State, while in that same match, the Buckeyes' Stacey Gordon tied her top total for the year with a League's best mark of 36 kills this season. Wisconsin freshman Taylor Reineke turned in a 12-block performance against Indiana on October 15, marking the highest total number of blocks in a match by a League player this year.
Bowman on Top of Game Versus Top-Ranked Competition
Minnesota's Kelly Bowman has tallied six triple-doubles this year, with two coming against three of the top four teams in the nation. On August 28, Bowman recorded 17 kills, 18 digs and 40 assists versus No. 1 USC, while on September 11, she recorded 11 kills, 19 kills and 15 assists against No. 4 Florida. Bowman also delivered 16 kills, 21 digs and 34 assists at No. 4 Penn State on October 2. Most recently, she recorded 17 kills, 10 digs and 26 assists at Wisconsin in the Gophers' 3-2 loss on October 30.
A Streak To Remember
Prior to falling 3-1 to Ohio State on October 1, Minnesota spent three weeks at the top spot in the national rankings -- the first time in school history the Golden Gophers had ever been rank No. 1. In that span, Minnesota went 6-1, marking the first time a Big Ten squad had ruled the collegiate volleyball scene in three-consecutive weeks since Penn State in 1999. The Nittany Lions held the No. 1 rank for 11-straight weeks from October 4, 1999 until the final poll of the 1999 season when PSU captured the NCAA title.
Big Ten Boasts Big Upsets of Top-Ranked Teams
On two occasions this season, a Big Ten team has upset the nation's top-ranked team. No. 16 Ohio State knocked off No. 1 Minnesota 3-1 (30-24, 30-23, 18-30, 30-24) on October 1, while on September 11, then-No. 16 Illinois defeated top-ranked and two-time defending national champion USC, 3-2, ending the longest winning streak in NCAA volleyball history at 52 straight. The Illini topped the Women of Troy 30-24, 24-30, 12-30, 30-27, 15-8, which marked the first time in school history that the Orange and Blue defeated a number one team. Earlier this year, Minnesota dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to then-No. 1 USC at the NACWAA Tournament.
Big Ten Ranks Among Nation's Best
As of October 31, the Big Ten boasted several of its teams and student-athletes at or near the top of the NCAA statistical rankings. Ohio State's Stacey Gordon leads the nation in kills per game (7.26), while teammate Marisa Main is third in the country in assists per game (14.85). Minnesota's Paula Gentil ranks third currently in digs with 6.45 per game. In team categories, Ohio State ranks first in the nation in assists per game (16.96) followed by Minnesota (16.09) at No. 6 and Penn State (16.00) at No. 8. OSU also holds the nation's best mark in kills per game (18.36) and is second in hitting percentage (.324).
Big Ten Boasts Winning Record Over Top-25 Teams
In the four total weeks of non-conference action, Big Ten teams were a combined 10-5 against top-25 competition. League teams defeated two top-10 teams, including then top-ranked USC (Illinois, 3-2), and posted a record of 7-4 against teams in the top-15. On three occasions, three different Big Ten teams defeated the 12th-ranked team, as Purdue and Wisconsin topped then-No. 12 Georgia Tech the first week of September, while Penn State topped No. 12 Stanford the week after.
Gophers' Gentil and Lions' Walters Dig Down Deep
Two Big Ten student-athletes from two different teams were looking for one League record on October 2. Minnesota's Paula Gentil set the Big Ten record for digs in a match with 47, bettering the previous record of 44 set by Wisconsin's Susan Wohlford against Iowa on October 20, 1990. On the other side of the net, Penn State junior libero Kaleena Walters matched Wohlford's mark with a career-high and Penn State record 44 digs against the Gophers.
Illini's Virtue to Miss Remainder of Season
Illinois senior setter Erin Virtue suffered a tear of her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee late in the Illini's win over Ball State on September 17. The injury requires surgery, which will force the Honorable Mention All-American and Preseason All-Big Ten selection to miss the rest of the season. Virtue, who topped the 2,000 assist mark in just one-plus year as Illinois' starter, amassed 424 assists during the 2004 season before suffering the injury.
Underclassmen Blocking Out the Competition
Seven underclassmen, including three freshmen in the top four, currently lead the Conference in blocks. Only two juniors and one senior can be found among the top 10 blockers in the League. Wisconsin junior Sheila Shaw (1.37 bpg) leads the League followed by freshmen Melissa Walbridge (PSU, 1.36), Lyndsay Miller (MICH, 1.29) and Shaw's teammate, Taylor Reineke (WIS, 1.25). Indiana junior Mandy Eberle is fifth at 1.25. Penn State's Kim Holm (So., 1.20) and Illinois' Jen Hynds (Fr., 1.13) are sixth and seventh, while Michigan's Megan Bowman (So., 1.12) is eighth.
OSU's Stone Reaches No. 500
Ohio State head coach Jim Stone captured his 500th career win on September 17 when his Buckeyes defeated Northeastern, 3-1. The win ranks him fourth among active coaches in the League. With his Buckeyes owning a 21-1 record this season, Stone has a career mark of 512-300 (.631).
Worth the Wait for Waite
Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite captured career win No. 400 on September 17 in a 3-0 sweep of Virginia. Waite, who is in his 17th year at the helm of the Badgers, has 411 career wins and ranks near the top 10 in winning percentage at .741 (411-144) overall.