- Two Big Ten volleyball programs remain on the hunt for a national championship. No. 4-seed Wisconsin and No. 7-seed Minnesota will compete in the national semifinals on Thursday evening at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Penn. The Badgers play No. 1-seed Baylor at 7:00 pm ET on ESPN while the Gophers face No. 3-seed Stanford at 9:30 pm ET on ESPN. Winners will advance to the national championship match on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
• Minnesota and Wisconsin’s national semifinal berths mark the 17th-straight year that the Big Ten has had at least one team in the national semifinals. Since 1981, at least one conference team has reached the national semifinals 21 times and two teams have appeared a total of 12 times. This is Minnesota’s sixth trip to the national semifinals in program history and its first since 2016. Wisconsin is making its third national semifinal appearance in program history and its first since 2013.
• Overall, the Gophers have made six appearances in the national semifinals (2003, 2004, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2019) and reached the national championship match in 2004. The Badgers have made three appearances in the national semifinals (2000, 2013, 2019) and advanced to the national title game in 2000 and 2013.
• Big Ten programs have combined to win nine of the last 13 NCAA Championships with the Nittany Lions collecting six (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) and the Huskers winning three (2006, 2015, 2017). Overall, Nebraska has made 15 national semifinal appearances, while Penn State has made 13. Minnesota has reached the national semifinals six times, Illinois has made four appearances, Wisconsin has made three trips and Michigan has reached the national semifinals once.
• Thirteen Big Ten volleyball students were selected as American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Americans, as announced by the AVCA on Wednesday. Four Big Ten students were first-team All-America selections, represented by Minnesota’s Regan Pittman, Penn State’s Kaitlyn Hord, and Wisconsin’s Sydney Hilley and Dana Rettke.
• Three Big Ten students were named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Division I Volleyball teams on Monday. Michigan State senior defensive specialist Samantha McLean and Wisconsin junior setter Sydney Hilley earned first team recognition. McLean was a third team honoree in 2018. The Spartans’ Lauren Swartz, a junior outside hitter, was awarded with third team honors.
• Twenty-seven Big Ten volleyball players and two Big Ten coaches were honored with American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region honors. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke garnered AVCA Northeast Region Player of the Year honors. Nebraska’s Madi Kubik and Ohio State’s Kylie Murr were named AVCA North and Northeast Region Freshman of the Year, respectively. Minnesota head coach Hugh McCutcheon was named the AVCA North Region Coach of the Year and Wisconsin’s Kelly Sheffield collected AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year honors.
• Wisconsin’s Molly Haggerty was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Madison Regional, averaging 4.33 kills per set on a .264 hitting percentage. Sydney Hilley and Dana Rettke also earned spots on the Madison Regional All-Tournament team.
• Minnesota’s Adanna Rollins was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Austin Regional with 3.38 kills per set on a .315 hitting clip. Alexis Hart and Kylie Miller were named to the Austin Regional All-Tournament team.
• The Big Ten announced the 2019 postseason volleyball awards, with standouts from Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin earning recognition. The Badgers’ Dana Rettke was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by a vote of the conference’s coaches. Penn State’s Kendall White was tabbed the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, for the second consecutive season. Wisconsin’s Sydney Hilley earned Setter of the Year plaudits and Nebraska’s Madi Kubik won Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Penn State’s Russ Rose was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the conference’s coaches and Wisconsin’s Kelly Sheffield earned the honor from the media contingent.
• Four active Big Ten coaches have recorded at least 600 career wins: Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,299), Nebraska’s John Cook (749), Michigan State’s Cathy George (653) and Michigan’s Mark Rosen (638). Rose ranks first among active Division I coaches in career victories, while Cook ranks 9th, George is 14th and Rosen is No. 18.
|No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 4 Wisconsin||Pittsburgh, Pa.||Thursday, Dec. 19||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 7 Minnesota||Pittsburgh, Pa.||Thursday, Dec. 19||9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 1 Baylor/No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Stanford/No. 7 Minnesota||Pittsburgh, Pa.||Saturday, Dec. 21||8 p.m.||ESPN2|