B1G Volleyball Update

• Eight Big Ten volleyball teams qualified for the 2017 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Big Ten Co-Champion Penn State enters the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed, while Big Ten Co-Champion No. 5 Nebraska and No. 7 Minnesota also earned top-16 seeds. Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin also received at-large bids to the tournament. The eight bids mark the 25th time in as many years that at least six Big Ten volleyball teams have been selected for the NCAA Tournament.


• Minnesota, Nebraska and Penn State will host first- and second-round matches. All three schools are ranked in the top five in average attendance. Nebraska leads the nation, averaging 8,208 fans per contest, Wisconsin is third with 5,980, Minnesota is fourth at 5,029, Penn State is fifth with 3,615, while Michigan State checks in at No. 8 with 3,141 patrons per contest. Illinois (2,524) and Purdue (2,383) round out the top 15 at No. 12 and No. 15, respectively.


• The Big Ten announced its individual award winners this week, with standouts from Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin earning recognition. The Nittany Lions’ Simone Lee was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, Penn State’s Haleigh Washington was tabbed the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, while Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter was named Setter of the Year. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, while Nebraska head coach John Cook and Penn State head coach Russ Rose were named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the conference’s coaches and media contingent, respectively.


• Nebraska and Penn State have combined to win eight of the last 11 NCAA Championships with Penn State collecting six (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) and Nebraska winning twice (2006, 2015).


• Penn State enters the NCAA Tournament on a 19-match winning streak, while Nebraska enters with a 13-match win streak. The Nittany Lions currently lead the nation in winning percentage (.964), while the Huskers rank 14th (.867).


• Six Big Ten programs earned spots in the latest AVCA coaches poll, with three teams ranked among the top 10: No. 1 Penn State, No. 5 Nebraska, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 12 Michigan State and No. 16 Purdue. Illinois and Michigan are 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 50 weeks. During that span, the Nittany Lions have earned the top spot 28 times.


• Based on past opponents’ winning percentage, Ohio State has played the third-toughest schedule in the nation, while Minnesota has played the 11th-toughest schedule. Purdue is 14th on the list, Wisconsin is 18th, Illinois is 19th and Nebraska checks in at No. 22 out of 334 teams.


• Big Ten teams currently occupy five of the top 15 positions on the national team hitting percentage list, including two of the top-10 spots. Penn State leads the country with a .347 hitting percentage, followed by Purdue (.301) in eighth and Wisconsin (.296) in 11th. Minnesota checks in at No. 12, hitting at a .287 clip, while Nebraska (.282) and Illinois (.278) round out the list at 14th and 17th, respectively.


• A pair of Big Ten students currently occupy two of the top five spots nationally in hitting percentage. Penn State’s Academic All-American Haleigh Washington leads the Big Ten and the nation with a .515 hitting percentage, while Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke ranks fifth, hitting at a clip of .445.


• Three active Big Ten coaches have recorded at least 600 career wins: Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,242), Nebraska’s John Cook (655) and Michigan State’s Cathy George (618). 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 593 career victories so far and checking in at No. 22.


• Nine Big Ten volleyball standouts were named to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District Volleyball Team as announced by CoSIDA: Iowa’s Annika Olsen, Michigan’s Jenna Lerg and Carly Skjodt, Michigan State’s Alyssa Garvelink and Rachel Minarick, Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter and Sydney Townsend, Penn State’s Haleigh Washington and Purdue’s Ashley Evans.


• 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.

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