Around the Big Ten (Volleyball): November 17
The race to snatch the Big Ten Volleyball title is tightening up with four matches remaining in the regular season.
So far, three teams, Penn State, Purdue and Minnesota have records of 12-4 in Big Ten play and have all achieved major feats in the middle sector of the season.
After an upset to then-unranked Illinois, Penn State bounced back winning four consecutive matches against Michigan and Michigan State. The victories only got sweeter with outside hitter Adanna Rollins surpassing 1,000 career digs and kills.
Middle blockers Kaitlyn Hord and Allie Holland do the work on the strike as they own the top third and fourth positions in Big Ten hitting percentage standings.
Staring down a tough schedule facing three top-10 teams in its next three matches, the Nittany Lions have an uphill battle to contend for the crown.
The Purdue Boilermakers extended their match win streak to six with a 3-1 victory over Minnesota in Minneapolis. Offensively, outside hitter Caitlyn Newton and middle blocker Raven Colvin are going strong, with Newton ranking fourth in the Big Ten with 3.90 kills per set.
Known for a breakout season during her first year, second-year player Taylor Trammell ranks second in the Big Ten with 1.37 blocks per set. Purdue’s schedule is lighter than its counterparts with a finale hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers at home at Holloway Gymnasium.
Sitting at 13-3 in the Big Ten, Nebraska continues to make noise. The Cornhuskers have Lexi Rodriguez in its defensive arsenal. For the second time in her career, the first-year was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
The award increases Nebraska’s counter to 11 on the season. The Cornhuskers face the No. 15 Nittany Lions in Lincoln for a rematch on Nov. 19. Earlier in the season, Nebraska defeated Penn State on the road at Rec Hall in University Park, Pennsylvania.
Nebraska travels to both Wisconsin and Purdue to finish off its season, which requires maximum production from all aspects of its team.
The biggest favorite for the Big Ten title is the Wisconsin Badgers, who also have a 13-3 record. Dana Rettke continues to dominate the Badgers’ offensive strategy. However, a 1-3 match loss to the Boilermakers on Nov. 12 opened up the Big Ten race to other programs in the conference.
The Big Ten Volleyball title comes down to each team’s grit facing its respective schedules. While schedule difficulty is not the only factor, it certainly can help or hinder.
Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Second Year / Public Relations