Nov. 10, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
Vineece Verdun, Michigan State
Fr., Bloomfield Hills, Mich. / Andover
Vineece Verdun joined the Spartans as a walk-on last season and due to an injury, was forced to redshirt during her freshman campaign. Showing perseverance and dedication to the game, Verdun has seen plenty of success in her first regular action with the Spartans in 2008. A political science/pre-law major, Verdun's success is not limited to the classroom. She has excelled on the court this season, averaging 1.52 kills per set while ranking third on the team in blocks. Verdun hit .341 with 64 kills during the Spartans 10-match winning streak earlier this season.
PSU Streaking into NCAA Records Book
With a 3-0 win over Michigan State on Friday, Penn State won its 52nd consecutive match, tying the NCAA record set by USC from 2002-04. The Nittany Lions remain one of just two undefeated teams in NCAA Division I and are the only team that has not lost a single set. Dating back to last season, PSU has won its last 79 straight sets, ranking second all-time in NCAA history. The Lions have also won their last 39 consecutive Big Ten matches, which is the fourth-longest streak in conference annals. Penn State is looking to win its sixth consecutive Big Ten title and become the first team since the 1998-99 Nittany Lion squads to finish the conference season undefeated in back-to-back years.
Playing With Their Heads
Ten Big Ten volleyball players were honored with spots on the Academic All-District teams, presented by ESPN The Magazine, CoSIDA announced last week. Four student-athletes made the first team in their respective divisions, while five were honored on the second team and one on the third team. First-team honorees Emily Hiza of Iowa, Christa Harmotto and Megan Hodge of Penn State and Kristen Arthurs of Purdue are now eligible for Academic All-America selection. Harmotto was an Academic All-America third-team honoree a season ago.
Big Ten Network Makes Wildcard Pick
The Big Ten Network selected the Penn State at Michigan match on Saturday, Nov. 29, as its wildcard matchup. The match will be aired live, but will be moved from its original time and will be played at 6 p.m. ET. With the selection, Michigan and Penn State will each have made eight appearances on national TV by the conclusion of the regular season.
Wisconsin freshman Janelle Gabrielsen became the first Big Ten player to record a triple-double this season when she tallied 13 kills, 15 assists and 10 digs against No. 20 Michigan on Saturday. She became just the third Badger ever and the first since 1988 to accomplish the feat. Gabrielsen’s triple-double is the first in the Big Ten since Oct. 27, 2007, when Minnesota’s Lauren Gibbemeyer and Ohio State’s Briana McCarthy recorded triple-doubles in the same match.
Three Big Ten teams reached the 20-win plateau over the weekend, giving the conference four 20-win teams so far this season. Minnesota will finish with at least 20 wins for the sixth time in the last seven years, while Purdue reaches the 20-wins marker for the third time under head coach Dave Shondell, and Michigan collects 20 wins for the third straight season. Illinois is one win away from its first 20-win season since 2003.
Big Ten Rips up the RPI
According to the latest RPI report issued by the NCAA on Monday, the Big Ten boasts four of the top 10 teams in the nation. Penn State has the country’s highest RPI, followed by No. 4 Minnesota, No. 6 Illinois and No. 7 Purdue. No other conference boasts more than three top-10 RPI squads. Also ranking high on the list for the Big Ten are No. 22 Michigan, No. 31 Indiana and No. 46 Wisconsin. RPI is one of several tools used by the NCAA selection committee when evaluating teams for the NCAA Championship.
Big Ten on TV
The Big Ten’s 11 volleyball squads are enjoying vast exposure during the 2008 regular season with 23 matches airing on national television. This week’s schedule features two matches live on the Big Ten Network. Action begins on Wednesday as Michigan hosts Ohio State at 7 p.m. ET. Michigan is 4-2 in TV games, including a 3-0 win over Ohio State on Sept. 24, while the Buckeyes are 1-1 in nationally televised games. On Saturday, the Big Ten Network will broadcast Penn State at Purdue and air the match on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. The Nittany Lions are 5-0 in TV games while the Boilermakers are 1-2.