Nov. 24, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
FACES OF THE BIG TEN
Kiley Fister, Iowa
Sr., St. Charles, Ill. / St. Francis
Senior setter Kiley Fister, a St. Charles, Ill., native, excels both on and off the court. Fister was an ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District pick this season, with a 3.65 GPA in Interdepartmental Studies with a Spanish minor. Fister is hoping to use both her degrees after volleyball by working in the medical field in Honduras. Fister also spends her spare time volunteering at the local Ronald McDonald House.
Nittany Lions Clinch Outright Crown
With a sweep over Northwestern on Friday, Penn State clinched the 2008 Big Ten championship outright. The conference title is the sixth consecutive for the Nittany Lions and their 12th overall since joining the Big Ten for the 1991 season. With one more weekend left to play, PSU looks to become the first team since the 1998-99 Nittany Lion squads to finish the conference slate undefeated in back-to-back seasons. Overall, Penn State has not dropped a match or a single set this season and could become the first team in NCAA Division I, II or III history to finish the regular season without losing a single stanza.
PSU Rakes in Academic Honors
Penn State senior Christa Harmotto was named the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American for university-level volleyball, College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced on Monday. Harmotto is a two-time Academic All-American and is the second Nittany Lion to earn the prestigious award as Bonnie Bremmer was honored in 1998 and 1999. Also earning Academic All-America distinction, PSU junior Megan Hodge is a second-team honoree.
Big Ten Polling Place
While Penn State is enjoying its 21st consecutive week as the No. 1 team in the nation, Illinois received its highest ranking since Sept. 20, 2004, coming in at No. 15 after jumping one spot from last week.
IU’s Benson Stuffs the Competition
Indiana sophomore Ashley Benson broke the Hoosiers’ single-season blocks record on Saturday with her 156th stuff of the season. The sophomore currently has 159 total blocks in 2008 and ranks sixth in the Big Ten and among the NCAA’s leaders with 1.38 blocks per set.
Follow the Leader
Penn State’s Christa Harmotto is currently the NCAA stat leader with a .518 hitting percentage, which is 74 points higher than the second-ranked player. The senior is on pace to become the Big Ten’s first NCAA stat champion in hitting percentage since Michigan State’s Val Sterk in 1996. Teammate Alisha Glass leads the nation in assists with 12.40 per set and could become the first national stat champ from the conference since Ohio State’s Katie Virtue in 2001. On the other side of the net, Illinois’ Johannah Bangert leads the nation with 1.59 blocks per set and looks to become the first NCAA blocking champ from the Big Ten since the NCAA began keeping stat champions in 1994.
Lions Pounce on NCAA Records
With two more wins over the weekend, Penn State extended its NCAA-record winning streak to 56 consecutive matches. The Nittany Lions currently rank second all-time in history with 91 consecutive set wins, trailing only Florida’s mark of 105 set in 2003. The 2008 PSU squad is also second in Big Ten history with 43 consecutive conference matches won, trailing only the mark of 49 set by the 1997-99 Nittany Lion teams.
Home Sweet Home
With 11 matches left on the regular-season schedule, Big Ten teams are winning their home matches over 60 percent of the time during the conference slate and over 70 percent of the time overall. During Big Ten play, conference teams have combined to go 60-39 with three teams either with one or no losses at home. Penn State went 10-0 at home in the Big Ten, while Minnesota finished 9-1 and Michigan is 7-1 with two matches to play. Overall, Big Ten teams are 103-43 on their home courts.
The NCAA volleyball selection show will air live at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 30, on ESPNU. The following night, the 2008 All-Big Ten Volleyball teams and individual award winners will be exclusively unveiled on the Big Ten Network’s Big Ten Women’s Show, Monday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m. ET.
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, the Big Ten Network will broadcast the season finale between No. 20 Michigan and No. 1 Penn State, live at 6 p.m. ET.