Big Ten Volleyball Weekly Release - Nov. 1, 2011
Nov. 1, 2011
First Serve: Nebraska holds first place in the Big Ten volleyball standings entering the final month of regular-season competition at 11-1 after sustaining its first loss of the conference season on Saturday. Illinois, Penn State and Purdue are each within two matches of first place entering the stretch run, as the Fighting Illini and Nittany Lions are tied for second at 10-2, and the Boilermakers hold third at 9-3.
The Week That Was: Eighth-ranked Penn State upended top-ranked Nebraska in four sets, handing the Huskers their first Big Ten loss. The Nittany Lions also took a four-set decision against Iowa last week, pushing their win streak to six matches. Purdue extended its win streak to five, defeating No. 22 Michigan and Michigan State on the road. Northwestern topped No. 15 Minnesota in straight sets before defeating Wisconsin in five to earn back-to-back wins.
Turner Tabbed National Player of the Week: Purdue junior Ariel Turner earned Sports Imports/AVCA Division I Player of the Week honors after averaging 5.9 kills and 3.2 digs per set in the 11th-ranked Boilermakers' road wins over No. 22 Michigan and Michigan State last week. Turner recorded 25 kills, 18 digs and six blocks against the Wolverines in Purdue's five-set win. She followed with her second double-double of the week against the Spartans, posting a career-high-tying 28 kills and 11 digs in a four-set win. The last Big Ten player to earn national Player of the Week honors was Michigan's Juliana Paz on Nov. 24, 2009.
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.
Where We Rank: Seven Big Ten teams in the top 25 of the latest AVCA Division I Coaches Poll again mark the most of any conference in the country. Nebraska leads the way for the Big Ten contingent, standing at No. 2 this week. Illinois holds No. 5, while Penn State follows closely at No. 6. Purdue remains just outside the top 10 at No. 11, while Minnesota checks in at No. 15. Ohio State moves up to No. 22 this week, with Michigan following at No. 23. Michigan State is receiving votes in the latest poll.
The Ratings Are In: Eight Big Ten teams hold top-50 rankings in the latest NCAA RPI, with four squads appearing in the top 10. Illinois and Nebraska again top the charts, coming in at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Minnesota follows at No. 6, while Purdue joins the top 10 this week at No. 10. Four top-10 teams marks the most of any conference in the nation. Penn State is 14th in the latest RPI, while Michigan follows at No. 19. Michigan State and Ohio State round out the Big Ten contingent in the top 50, standing at Nos. 37 and 38, respectively.
Statistically Speaking: The Big Ten boasts top-10 performers in nearly every major NCAA statistical category. Penn State's Micha Hancock moved into the national lead in aces per set (0.86), while Purdue's Ariel Turner moved up to fifth nationally in kills per set (4.85) and points per set (5.49). Minnesota's Mia Tabberson remains in the top five in assists (fifth, 11.85), while Purdue's Tiffany Fisher holds the eighth-highest hitting percentage in the country (.405).
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 (3,360), Illinois is eighth (2,464), and Purdue is 10th (2,383).