Big Ten Women’s Volleyball begins league play

by | Sep 22, 2022 | Headlines, Volleyball | 0 comments

• After securing its place atop the NCAA volleyball landscape with the nation’s top non-conference winning percentage (.729; 105-39 record), the Big Ten now turns its collective attention to the start of conference play this weekend. During the next 10 weeks, Big Ten schools will play a 20-match conference schedule, beginning Friday with all 14 programs in action and highlighted by a Big Ten Network doubleheader (Michigan at Rutgers; No. 8 Minnesota at No. 11 Purdue).
• Wisconsin is the three-time defending Big Ten champion (2019-21), becoming the third school to earn three consecutive titles and first since Penn State won a conference-record eight in a row from 2003-10. Illinois was the first to claim three consecutive Big Ten volleyball championships (1986-88), while PSU also had a string of four in a row from 1996-99.
• Penn State will enter Big Ten play with a perfect 11-0 record, the Nittany Lions’ best start to a season since 2015 (13-0). PSU is one of six remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division I and currently shares the third-longest winning streak in the nation (Towson and Valparaiso both have opened 12-0), as well as the longest among Autonomy Five conference programs (Auburn is also 11-0). The other undefeated Division I schools are Texas and UCF (both 8-0).
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is on the verge of another milestone, closing in on his 800th career win. Cook is 799-166 (.828) in his 30 seasons on the sidelines, including a 637-93 (.873) in his 23rd season in Lincoln. When he earns that landmark victory (his first try comes Friday vs. Michigan State), Cook will be the 19th NCAA Division I coach (and sixth active Division I coach) with 800 wins, as well as the third to do so in the opening month of the 2022 season, following American’s Barry Goldberg and Colorado State’s Tom Hilbert (the latter of whom just earned his 800th victory on Tuesday night).
• Wisconsin set a pair of attendance records on Sept. 16 when 16,833 fans jammed the Kohl Center for the Badgers’ five-set thriller against No. 16 Florida. It was the largest regular-season crowd in NCAA history (the previous record was set earlier this month on Sept. 7 – 15,797 for Nebraska vs. Creighton at Omaha’s CHI Health Center), as well as the largest NCAA regular-season attendance for a match at a campus facility (13,870 – UCLA at Nebraska on Sept. 13, 2009). The overall NCAA single-match attendance record is 18,755, set last December when Wisconsin defeated Nebraska, 3-2 in the NCAA national championship match at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
• For the second consecutive week, the Big Ten placed six of its schools in the top 11 of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, the second time in three seasons the Big Ten has pulled off that feat in back-to-back weeks (March 22 and 29, 2021). All told, a nation-best nine Big Ten schools are ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA poll this week.
• Big Ten programs remain firmly among the NCAA statistical leaders in several categories, most notably blocks, where three of the top four teams are from the Big Ten — Maryland leads the nation (3.38/set) with Wisconsin and Penn State in a virtual tie for third (3.10). Wisconsin is also nearly tied with Nebraska for third nationally in opponent hitting percentage (.127), while Michigan is fifth in the land with a .301 hitting percentage. The Wolverines’ mark is boosted by Jess Robinson, who leads the country with a .534 hitting percentage, while the nation’s top two blockers also reside in the Big Ten (Maryland’s Rainelle Jones at 1.83 blocks/set, and Wisconsin’s Danielle Hart at 1.81).
• Two of the Big Ten’s top defenders, both of whom hail from Yorktown, Ind., have or will achieve career milestones in the next week. Ohio State senior defensive specialist Kylie Murr registered her 1,500th career dig in Sunday’s loss at No. 12 Pittsburgh, becoming the fourth Buckeye and 43rd Big Ten student-athlete to reach that milestone. Meanwhile, Nebraska senior defensive specialist Kenzie Knuckles is closing in on her 1,000th career dig, currently standing at 984 entering this weekend’s home matches against Michigan State and … you guessed it … Ohio State.
• Northwestern junior setter Alexa Rousseau posted the first triple-double by a Big Ten player this season (and second of her career) on Sept. 16 with 11 kills, 11 digs and 44 assists in a four-set win over DePaul. Rousseau would go on to earn Big Ten Setter of the Week honors on Monday, becoming the first Wildcat in nearly nine years to receive that award (Caleigh Ryan on Sept. 23, 2013).
• The Big Ten has announced the most robust volleyball television package in its history with a record-setting 55 matches scheduled for linear television coverage (47 on Big Ten Network, six on ESPN2/ESPNU, two on FS1), with the possibility of further broadcasts to be announced at a later date. In addition, all non-televised Big Ten volleyball home matches are scheduled to be broadcast live on B1G+, the Big Ten Network’s subscription streaming service (bigtenplus.com).
• On Aug. 1, the Big Ten Network announced a groundbreaking, multi-year distribution partnership with Volleyball World that will enhance the promotion and coverage of Big Ten Conference volleyball across the globe. As part of that agreement, 70+ Big Ten volleyball matches will appear worldwide on VolleyballWorld.tv. There will also be live streaming of nearly 50 televised Big Ten Network volleyball matches outside of North America and certain Caribbean islands, as well as worldwide streaming of an additional 28 matches from B1G+ inventory, with those matches airing concurrently on B1G+.
• For the 16th consecutive season, Big Ten volleyball honored more than 70 Academic All-Big Ten standouts in 2021, as a record-setting 153 volleyball student-athletes were recognized, including a pair of Academic All-America selections in first-team honoree Sydney Hilley (Wisconsin) and second-team choice Diana Brown (Illinois).

2022 Women’s Volleyball Standings
SCHOOL CONF PCT. HOME AWAY OVERALL PCT. HOME AWAY NEUTRAL LAST 10 STREAK
Penn State 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 11-0 1.000 6-0 1-0 4-0 10-0 W11
Northwestern 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 11-1 .917 3-0 2-1 6-0 9-1 W4
Michigan 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 9-1 .900 5-0 2-1 2-0 9-1 W3
Purdue 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 9-1 .900 5-0 1-1 3-0 9-1 W3
Nebraska 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 8-1 .889 6-1 2-0 0-0 8-1 W1
Michigan State 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 9-2 .818 6-0 1-2 2-0 8-2 W3
Maryland 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 9-3 .750 2-1 3-0 4-2 7-3 W3
Wisconsin 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 6-2 .750 3-1 2-1 1-0 6-2 W1
Minnesota 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 5-3 .625 3-2 1-1 1-0 5-3 W1
Indiana 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 7-5 .583 2-1 1-2 4-2 5-5 L1
Iowa 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 6-5 .545 3-0 0-3 3-2 5-5 W3
Rutgers 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 6-6 .500 1-2 1-2 4-2 4-6 L2
Illinois 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 5-5 .500 0-0 3-2 2-3 5-5 L2
Ohio State 0-0 .000 0-0 0-0 4-4 .500 0-2 2-1 2-1 4-4 L1

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