Around the Big Ten Volleyball: Nov. 3
The calendar is flipping into November and the Big Ten scene continues to improve week after week. A season-high seven teams are into the top 25 in the country.
The likes of Wisconsin, Ohio State, Purdue and Nebraska are all inside the top 10, while Minnesota, Penn State and Illinois sit a tad lower in the list as Illinois recently gained the No. 25 spot.
This week will showcase two top-10 matchups and some more top-25 matchups as well.
Setting off in the Midwest
Matches will begin Thursday night where four ranked teams will be featured on the Big Ten Network.
No. 11 Minnesota travels to Columbus to face No. 7 Ohio State at 7:00 p.m. and No. 9 Nebraska travels to take on the newly ranked No. 25 Fighting Illini at 9:00 p.m.
Minnesota is coming off a big win at home against then-No. 6 Nebraska, which made it the Gophers second home win in a row over a top-10 opponent including Ohio State a couple weeks ago.
Star player Stephanie Samedy earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors, as well as her first AVCA Division I National Player of the Week this season.
Ohio State has a busy week ahead of it, as it faces Minnesota on Thursday and No. 9 Nebraska on Saturday.
Setter Mac Podraza, who earned this week’s Big Ten Co-Setter of the Week, will have to step up again this week if she wants to keep her team in the top-10 ranks.
Hitter Gabby Gonzales and libero Kylie Murr will have to keep up their consistency, as Gonzales has 16 matches with 10 or more kills and Murr has 19 matches with 10 or more digs.
Nebraska, who is coming off a tough five-set loss to Minnesota, is eager to get back to winning ways against Illinois.
Madi Kubik, who leads the team with 240 kills and 3.33 kills per set, is one of the brightest stars on the roster, so be prepared for Kubik to grab the statement win Nebraska needs to get back in the win column.
Illinois is coming off a big four-set win against Penn State which helped the Fighting Illini earn a spot in the top 25.
This week the Fighting Illini are facing two more ranked opponents in Nebraska and Minnesota.
Raina Terry, who led the team past the Nittany Lions, will continue to serve up aces and kills, as she is third in the Big Ten with 86 service aces and leads her team with 274 kills.
More Teams in Action
Penn State has a weekend of Michigan schools to prepare for and more top-10 schools are set to match up, forecasting for some changes in the rankings next week.
Nebraska and Ohio State feature a busy weekend of volleyball as the two top-10 teams will prove who truly deserves their ranking.
No. 8 Purdue kicks off its travels against Maryland in College Park Friday, then travels north to New Jersey to take on Rutgers.
The “Boiler Block” is a phenomenon teams have become very familiar with, and the Boilermakers will keep that same mentality looking to capture two convincing wins this weekend.
Purdue is just one of three teams in the Power Five conferences to collect 43 blocks over its last three matches.
Look for another big week from Rae Colvin as she earned Big Ten Defensive Player and Freshman of the Week awards after leading the conference with 2.57 blocks per set.
Wisconsin stays on the road for matchups against Northwestern on Friday and Iowa on Sunday where it looks to hold the prestigious No. 1 spot in the Big Ten currently at 18-2 overall.
Indiana will head to Iowa City Sunday night to wrap the week of volleyball in the Big Ten at 8:00 p.m.
Daniel Maiorana is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.