Press Release courtesy of the Big Ten
Conference play continues this weekend with all 14 teams in action. A pair of matches will be carried on BTN, with the remaining contests streaming on BTN Plus.
• Six Big Ten programs earned spots in the latest AVCA coaches poll, with five teams ranked among the top 10: No. 1 Penn State, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 8 Michigan State, No. 10 Wisconsin and No. 21 Purdue. Illinois is receiving votes in the poll.
• Since the 2012 season, four Big Ten schools (Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin) have been ranked No. 1 in the AVCA coaches poll a total of 47 weeks. During that span, the Nittany Lions have earned the top spot 25 times.
• Eleven Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 45 of the NCAA RPI as of Monday, including seven of the top 25: No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Minnesota, No. 5 Nebraska, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 15 Michigan State, No. 23 Illinois, No. 25 Purdue, No. 31 Ohio State, No. 34 Michigan, No. 43 Maryland and No. 44 Iowa.
• Based on past opponents’ winning percentage, Ohio State has played the third-toughest schedule in the nation, while Wisconsin has played the fifth-toughest schedule. Nebraska is 10th on the list, Minnesota is 11th and Michigan checks in at No. 14 out of 334 teams.
• Wisconsin senior Kelli Bates joined the 1,000-career kill club, becoming just the sixth Badger in program history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. The outside hitter also ranks 18th among UW students in kills (1,019) and ninth (1,278) in digs.
• Penn State middle blocker Haleigh Washington became the ninth player in school history and 45th in Big Ten annals to record 500 career blocks on Oct. 25. In the Nittany Lions’ four-set victory over No. 9 Wisconsin, Washington posted 14 kills, eight blocks, four digs and hit .448.
• Michigan State setter Rachel Minarick became the third player in school history and 45th in Big Ten annals to record 4,000 career assists on Oct. 21. In the Spartans’ straight-set victory over Maryland, Minarick posted 39 assists, three kills, hit .400, posted 10 digs, and an ace in the match to earn her fifth double-double.
• Big Ten teams currently occupy five of the top 15 positions on the national team hitting percentage list, including two of the top three spots. Penn State leads the country with a .354 hitting percentage, followed by Purdue (.319) in third and Wisconsin (.298) in 10th. Minnesota checks in at No. 12, hitting at a .288 clip. Illinois rounds out the list at No. 13 in the NCAA, boasting a .282 team hitting percentage.
• Big Ten students currently occupy five of the top 15 spots nationally in hitting percentage, including two of the top spot. Penn State’s Academic All-American Haleigh Washington leads the Big Ten and the nation with a .520 hitting percentage, while Maryland’s Academic All-Big Ten selection Hailey Murray ranks sixth, hitting at a clip of .445. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke ranks eighth (.434), while teammate Tionna Williams ranks ninth (.433). Penn State’s Academic All-Big Ten selection Heidi Thelen rounds out the list at No. 15 nationally with a mark of .417.
• Three active Big Ten coaches have recorded at least 600 career wins: Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,236), Nebraska’s John Cook (649) and Michigan State’s Cathy George (614). Rose currently ranks second among active Division I coaches in career victories, while Cook and George rank 15th and 19th, respectively. Michigan’s Mark Rosen continues to close in on the milestone, amassing 588 career victories so far and checking in at No. 22.
• Based on average attendance, the Big Ten currently has seven of the nation’s top 15 teams, including five of the top 10. Nebraska leads the nation, averaging 8,223 fans per contest, Wisconsin is third with 5,975, Minnesota is fourth at 4,970, Penn State is sixth with 3,458, while Michigan State checks in at No. 8 with 3,128 patrons per contest. Illinois (2,639) and Purdue (2,388) round out the top 15 at No. 11 and No. 15, respectively.
• The media credential application for the 2017 Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship is now available. Media interested in covering the event can log on to ncaa.com/media and access the credential application via the link under the credential icon.
• The 2017 Big Ten volleyball television package features 36 contests, with 31 of those matches airing live on BTN, and highlighted by 10 doubleheaders. Five other matches will be carried live on ESPN network.