Around the Big Ten (Volleyball): November 11

Story posted November 11, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew Gelhard

The Big Ten had another week of boasting its seven members in the top-25. Drifting further into this sensational season for the Big Ten will make every dig, kill and ace mean that much more.

This is how the rankings stack up: No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Purdue, No. 10 Ohio State, No. 11 Nebraska, No. 15 Penn State and No. 25 Illinois.

This week’s set of matchups will be a crucial part of each team’s journey to the Nationwide Arena in December.

Minnesota keeps on climbing

The Gophers climb the rankings as they move up from No. 11 to the No. 8 spot just ahead of Purdue and Ohio State.

Hitting the road and traveling to Illinois and Ohio was a tall task but they were able to capture wins against Ohio State 3-1 and Illinois 3-0 to improve to 16-6.

Their four straight wins against top-25 opponents were led by opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy, who received her second Big Ten Player of the Week honor in a row.

Minnesota will face Iowa on the road Thursday before concluding this week’s set up matches by hosting No. 9 Purdue Sunday for a 4:30 p.m. start.

The Boilermakers look to bring the momentum into this matchup after defeating the nation’s top blocking team in Maryland and then beating the Beka Kojadinovic led Rutgers.

The Boilermakers will need to outlast the talented No. 4 Wisconsin team on Friday before traveling to Minnesota. 

Wisconsin takes sole possession of first place

After taking care of Iowa and Northwestern, the Badgers improve to 12-2 in the Big Ten and 20-2 overall. After being out-blocked 16-7 in the loss against Purdue on Oct. 31, Wisconsin was able to out block both opponents this past weekend.

This was fueled by a setter Sydney Hilley, who also leads all D1 players in assists per set with about 12.

Nittany Lions proving themselves

With a 3-1 win against Michigan followed by a 3-2 thrilling victory against Michigan State the Nittany Lions hold at No. 15.

Senior Gabby Blossom recorded 54 assists in the game versus Michigan State while Jenna Hampton let her defensive efforts speak for themselves in the scorebook as she tallied over 20 digs in both matches.

The Spartan’s setter Julia Bishop recorded a career-best 51 digs to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors in an effort to attempt to upset the Nittany Lions. Sophomore Sarah Franklin had 27 kills marking her 14th game this season with double-digit successful attacks.

Penn State will take their talents on the road and rematch Michigan on Friday night at 7 and Michigan State Saturday night at 8.

Illinois hanging on to the top-25

The Fighting Illini fought hard against the then-No. 11 Minnesota in the first set as four ties over the next several rallies would leave the score 18-18.

The Gophers would prevail winning that first set and end up earning a 3-0 victory.

Despite losing to then-No. 11 Minnesota and then-No. 9 Nebraska, Illinois stays put at No. 25 and looks to bounce back against Indiana before taking on No. 10 Ohio State Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Matthew Gelhard is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at mgg5264@psu.edu.