Nov. 29, 2004
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Penn State Claims Second Straight Outright Big Ten Title
No. 4 Penn State (27-2, 18-2 Big Ten) captured its second consecutive outright Big Ten title and its eighth in 14 years as it defeated Michigan in three games (30-26, 31-29, 30-23) Saturday night in Ann Arbor. The Nittany Lions improved to 27-2 and end the Conference with an 18-2 record, including an 11-match winning streak.
Minnesota's Hebert One Win Shy of 800
Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert stands just one win away from the 800th-victory milestone only seven total and four active coaches have ever reached. Hebert, in his ninth year at Minnesota, has recorded a career record of 799-338 (.703), as head coach of the Gophers, Illinois (1983-95), New Mexico (1980-82) and Pittsburgh (1976-79). Hebert is expected to eclipse the 800-win plateau in the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State head coach Russ Rose is also one of the four active coaches to have reached 800 wins as he eclipsed the mark in the Nittany Lions' season opener. On September 3, PSU swept Rutgers 3-0, to make Rose only the sixth coach in Division I history to reach the 800-win plateau. Currently, Rose ranks second all-time among active coaches in winning percentage (.846, Hawaii's Dave Shoji-.850) and third all-time in victories (826).
Three Conference Teams Rank Among Top 10
For the eighth time this season and only the ninth time in Big Ten history, three teams rank in the top 10 nationally. In the latest USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll, Penn State is ranked No. 3, followed by Minnesota at No. 4 and No. 7 Ohio State. Wisconsin also received votes outside the top 25.
Big Ten Boasts Winning Record Over Top-25 Teams
In the four total weeks of non-conference action, Big Ten teams were a combined 10-5 against top-25 competition. League teams defeated two top-10 teams, including then top-ranked USC (Illinois, 3-2), and posted a record of 7-4 against teams in the top-15. On three occasions, three different Big Ten teams defeated the 12th-ranked team, as Purdue and Wisconsin topped then-No. 12 Georgia Tech the first week of September, while Penn State topped No. 12 Stanford the week after.
Badgers Just Miss Big Ten Attendance Mark
Wisconsin barely missed setting the Big Ten volleyball record for attendance for the second year in a row. In 2004, Wisconsin totalled 46,026 fans in 10 Conference matches for an average of 4,603. The Badgers set the current record average of 4,649 in 2003.
Record Five Top-10 Meetings Highlight 2004-05 Season
On five occasions this season, two Conference teams ranked in the top 10 nationally battled against one another. Prior to this season, the most top-10 meetings that occurred in a single season was four in 1995. This instance has happened on 20 different occasions and was highlighted this season by the highest-ranked match in League history. Then-No. 1 Minnesota defeated fourth-ranked Penn State, 3-2, on October 2. Here is a look at the all-time top-10 meetings in the League:
ALL-TIME BIG TEN TOP-10 MEETINGS
Match (20 occasions) Date
#4 Penn State at #7 Ohio State, 11/17/04
#7 Ohio State at #5 Minnesota, 11/6/04
#6 Penn State at #5 Minnesota, 11/5/04
#7 Ohio State vs. #5 Penn State, 10/20/04
#1 Minnesota vs. #4 Penn State, 10/2/04
#9 Minnesota vs. #8 Penn State, 10/19/02
#7 Minnesota vs. #6 Wisconsin, 10/28/00
#2 Penn State vs. #6 Wisconsin, 10/10/98
#2 Penn State vs. #6 Wisconsin, 11/6/98
#1 Penn State vs. #7 Wisconsin, 10/31/97
#1 Penn State vs. #10 Wisconsin, 10/4/97
#2 Penn State vs. #7 Michigan State, 10/11/96
#6 Penn State vs. #5 Michigan State, 11/9/96
#6 Penn State vs. #10 Ohio State, 11/1/95
#7 Penn State vs. #6 Michigan State, 10/21/95
#8 Penn State vs. #7 Michigan State, 11/17/95
#6 Ohio State vs. #7 Michigan State, 11/18/95
#2 Penn State vs. #6 Ohio State, 9/21/94
#4 Ohio State vs. #5 Penn State, 11/29/94
#6 Illinois vs. #9 Penn State, 11/27/92
Big Ten Ranks Among Nation's Best
As of November 21, the Big Ten boasted several of its teams and student-athletes at or near the top of the NCAA statistical rankings. Ohio State's Stacey Gordon leads the nation in kills per game (7.08), while teammate Marisa Main is third in the country in assists per game (14.77). Minnesota's Paula Gentil ranks third currently in digs with 6.52 per game. In team categories, Ohio State ranks second in the nation in assists per game (16.84) followed by Minnesota (16.31) at No. 3 and Penn State (16.10) at No. 7. OSU also holds the nation's second-best mark in kills per game (18.29) and is fourth in hitting percentage (.311).