Big Ten Volleyball Weekly Release - Nov. 12

Faye Adelaja

Nov. 12, 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 – Purdue’s Jane Neff: Purdue’s first recognized volleyball All-American, Neff was awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1983. The four-year letterwinner led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship in her senior season (1982) and two NCAA Tournament berths. The middle hitter ranks in the Purdue top 10 in seven career categories, including fourth in total blocks (523). She also holds the record for most solo blocks in a season (75) and led the Boilermakers in hitting percentage and total blocks for three of her four seasons (1980-82). The Kettering, Ohio, native was Purdue’s team MVP in 1981 and 1982 and was tabbed a first-team Academic All-American in 1982. She was named to the Big Ten All-Decade team in 1992 and inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.

First Serve: With three weeks remaining in the Big Ten season, Penn State sits atop the conference standings at 13-1. Nebraska follows in second at 12-2 while Minnesota is third at 10-4. Illinois, Michigan State and Wisconsin are tied for fourth with matching 8-6 Big Ten marks. The conference slate continues this week with five matches featuring two teams ranked in the top-25, including three of Saturday’s four tilts. Seven of the matches will appear on BTN or BTDN.

Where We Rank: Eight Big Ten teams were ranked in the top 25 in this week’s AVCA Coaches’ poll, which leads all conferences. The Big Ten is led by No. 2 Penn State, followed by No. 9 Nebraska, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 14 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 18 Purdue, No. 19 Michigan and No. 25 Illinois. The Huskers and Badgers each jumped two spots in the poll, while the Illini are ranked for the first time since the week of Sept. 23.

Reppin’ in the RPI: According to the latest RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday, nine Big Ten teams appear in the top 50, including seven in the top 30, the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 8 Nebraska, No. 15 Minnesota, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 18 Illinois, No. 28 Michigan State, No. 29 Michigan, No. 32 Purdue and No. 41 Ohio State.

Head of the Classroom: Illinois’ Anna Dorn, Michigan State’s Kristen Kelsey, Penn State’s Katie Slay and Purdue’s Faye Adelaja were named to 2013 Capital One Academic All-District teams, it was announced last Thursday. To be eligible for the award, a player must be in at least her second year of athletic eligibility, be a first-team or key performer and carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or greater. First-team Academic All-District honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team honorees will be selected later this month.

Streaking Along: The race for the Big Ten Championship is on as four Big Ten teams are riding multiple-match winning streaks. Penn State has won 13 straight matches, while Nebraska is riding a six-match winning streak. Illinois is 3-0 in its last three matches, while Ohio State has won two straight. The Nittany Lions have not lost since Sept. 27 and have beaten eight ranked conference foes during their streak. Last week, the Illini and Huskers each bested two top-20 teams.


Statistically Speaking: Numerous Big Ten standouts appear among the top 25 of the NCAA statistical leaders, which were released on Monday.  Penn State’s Micha Hancock is second in the nation in aces per set (0.71). Teammate Katie Slay is third in blocks per set (1.61), while Michigan State’s Alexis Mathews is sixth (1.51). Mathews is also 17th in hitting percentage, swinging at a.416 clip, while Slay follows in 18th (.413). In kills per set, Ohio State’s Kaitlyn Leary is tied for fourth (4.86), Nebraska’s Kelsey Robinson is 16th (4.52) and Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski is 23rd (4.35). Leary is also 11th in points per set (5.17), followed by Wicinski in 12th (5.15) and Robinson in 15th (5.07). Northwestern’s Caleigh Ryan ranks 24th in assists per set (11.24). As a team, Penn State is first in blocks per set (3.10) and third in hitting percentage (0.323). Minnesota also ranks in the top 10 in hitting percentage, ranking eighth (.287).