Nov. 19, 2013
Rosemont, Ill. -
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 – Iowa’s Dee Ann Davidson: A 1985 recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, Davidson was Iowa’s first women’s volleyball player to earn the distinction. Davidson was twice named MVP for the Hawkeyes and led Iowa in blocks for three seasons. She also led the conference in digs per game in 1984. She was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree and was tabbed an Academic All-American in 1984. The two-time CoSIDA District VII All-American graduated with a degree in accounting with high distinction and a 3.85 GPA. She was named to the President’s list four semesters and Dean’s list six semesters, and later was named to Iowa’s Academic All-Decade team.
First Serve: With two weeks remaining in the Big Ten season, Penn State sits atop the conference standings at 15-1. Nebraska follows in second at 14-2 while Minnesota is third at 11-5. The conference slate continues this week with seven matches featuring two teams ranked or receiving votes in the top 25, while eight of the matches will appear on BTDN.
Where We Rank: Nine Big Ten teams were ranked or receiving votes in this week’s AVCA Coaches’ poll, which leads all conferences. The Big Ten is led by No. 2 Penn State, followed by No. 6 Nebraska, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 17 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, No. 20 Illinois and No. 25 Purdue. The Huskers moved up three positions, while the Illini jumped five spots in the poll.
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 30, tied for the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 6 Nebraska, No. 14 Minnesota, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 17 Illinois, No. 26 Michigan State, No. 27 Michigan, No. 41 Purdue, No. 43 Ohio State and No. 50 Northwestern.
Close to Clinching: Penn State has a chance to clinch the Big Ten crown this weekend, but does not control its own destiny in the title hunt. The Nittany Lions could clinch the outright crown if they win both their matches and Nebraska loses both of its contests this week. Penn State could clinch a share of the title if it wins both of its matches and Nebraska loses one match.
Top-25 Tilts: So far this season, 38 of the 96 conference matches have featured two teams in the top 25 (40 percent). Fifty-five of the 96 tilts (57 percent) 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 10-1 against ranked teams in conference play, while Nebraska is 9-2. Ohio State will end this week having played five consecutive matches against squads ranked or receiving votes.
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 leads the the nation in aces per set (0.70), while Michigan State’s Lauren Wicinski is 21st (0.43). Wicinski ranks ninth in points per set (5.22), followed by Nebraska’s Kelsey Robinson in 12th (5.16) and Ohio State’s Kaitlyn Leary in 13th (5.15). Leary is fifth in kills per set (4.84), while Robinson is 14th (4.55) and Wicinski is 18th (4.44). Penn State’s Katie Slay ranks third in blocks per set (1.68) and Michigan State’s Alexis Mathews is 16th (1.46). Mathews ranks 17th in hitting percentage (.415), while Penn State’s Nia Grant follows in 21st (.406). Northwestern’s Caleigh Ryan ranks 23rd in the country in assists per set (11.23). As a team, Penn State is first in blocks per set (3.13) and third in hitting percentage (.317). Minnesota also ranks in the top 10 in hitting percentage, ranking eighth (.286).