Welcome back, Big Ten volleyball fans! The season has been underway for a month-ish, but two weekends ago was the first weekend of conference play (I’m really behind, ok?), and already, there have been some shocking developments for the season (hey Sparty!), so let’s get rolling.
- Michigan State has been the surprise of the conference season so far. After debuting for the 2017 season at #17, the Spartans fell out of the AVCA poll with losses to Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. However... they seem to have righted the ship. In the first weekend of conference play, MSU went on the road and took out not just Wisconsin, but Minnesota as well. In volleyball terms, this is pretty much the same as successfully completing the Labors of Hercules. MSU bested Wisconsin (then #5) in a tense five-setter, but the real shock was yet to come. Playing at Minnesota, the Spartans swept the then-#1 Gophers. A sweep is surprising enough, but the real shocker here is that this victory ended Minnesota’s 40-match home winning streak. That’s right, Minnesota hadn’t lost at home since 2014. So, a deserved well-done to the Spartans for a truly monster opening weekend.
- In other “ending crazy streaks news” in Week 5, the Huskers handed then-#2 Penn State a surprise streak snap of their own. The Huskers (then #14), one week to the day after losing to UNI (wut), marched into Happy Valley and not only defeated PSU, but swept them out of their own gym. Guesses on the last time PSU was swept at home? Wait for it... it was October 18, 2003. George W. Bush was in his first presidential term. The Penn State seniors, members of the most vaunted recruiting class in recent memory, were in... second grade? the last time PSU was swept in Happy Valley. That is a 14-YEAR streak.
- The next weekend, Nebraska continued on its rampage, leveling Minnesota in Lincoln in three sets on Friday night, and then taking down Wisconsin in a tough five-setter (in which the Huskers spotted the Badgers the first two sets). For those keeping track at home, Nebraska beat #2, #3, and #7 in a span of nine days (and two of them in sweeps), the first time the program has taken down three top-ten ranked teams in such a short span of time—ever.
- I found this neat interview of Husker coach John Cook. Part of it is him talking about his first National Championship at Nebraska, which came in his first season after he left Wisconsin. To win that NC, Nebraska defeated Wisconsin in the tournament final. Cook’s not an emotional guy, and you can still tell that this experience was difficult for him.
Wednesday, September 20
Illinois 3 - Indiana 0
OSU 3 - Maryland 0
Purdue 3 - Northwestern 0
Friday, September 22
Minnesota 3 - Michigan 1
Iowa 3 - Rutgers 0
Nebraska 3 - PSU 0 — (Author’s Note: Woohoo!)
MSU 3 - Wisconsin 2: Wisconsin would prove to have a tough couple of weekends in the “heartbreaking five setter” department.
Saturday, September 23
Maryland 3 - Indiana 0
PSU 3 - Iowa 1
Nebraska 3 - Rutgers 0
Illinois 3 - Northwestern 0
OSU 3 - Purdue 1
Sunday, September 24
MSU 3 - Minnesota 0: This would have been impressive enough as a sweep, let alone it being in Minneapolis. Huge, huge win for MSU.
Wisconsin 3 - Michigan 0
Wednesday, September 27
Purdue 3 - Indiana 0
Friday, September 29
Michigan 3 - OSU 1
Nebraska 3 - Minny 0 (Author’s Note: Woohoo!)
MSU 3 - Maryland 0
Northwestern 3 - Rutgers 0: Northwestern previously had not won a set in conference play in 2017, but Rutgers is a cure for what ails ya in volleyball too.
PSU 3 - Illinois 0
Wisconsin 3 - Iowa 0
Saturday, September 30
Purdue 3 - Indiana 0
Michigan 3 - Maryland 1
PSU 3 - Northwestern 0
Minnesota 3 - Iowa 0
MSU 3 - OSU 0
Nebraska 3 - Wisconsin 2: Wisconsin rolled in the first two sets, while the Huskers looked sluggish. But they came back with vigor after the break, and as things got tight in the fourth set, Devaney came alive and the crowd roared down at Wisconsin. Once the Huskers won the fourth set, you got the sense that there was no way they were going down in the fifth, and sure enough, they rolled.
Sunday, October 1
Illinois 3 - Rutgers 0
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Michigan at Iowa (8:00 pm Eastern)
Michigan State at Nebraska (8:00 pm) - broadcast in Nebraska on NET. This is a surprisingly big early season game—thanks to some huge wins from both of these teams early, both are undefeated in conference play and this match is the top of the conference standings.
Minnesota at Wisconsin (8:00 pm) - broadcast on BTN
Friday, October 6, 2017
Rutgers at Maryland (6:00 pm) - broadcast on BTN, somehow
Penn State at Ohio State (7:00 pm)
Purdue at Illinois (8:00 pm) - broadcast on BTN
Indiana at Northwestern (8:00 pm)
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Minnesota at Michigan (1:00 pm)
Wisconsin at Michigan State (4:00 pm)
Penn State at Maryland (7:00 pm)
Rutgers at Ohio State (7:00 pm)
Indiana at Illinois (8:00 pm)
Nebraska at Iowa (8:00 pm)
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Purdue at Northwestern (2:00 pm)
Players of the Week - Week #6
Player of the Week: Haleigh Washington, Penn State
DPOTW: Claire Kieffer-Wright, Michigan
Setter of the Week: Ashley Evans, Purdue
Freshman of the Week: Dana Rettke, Wisconsin
(Since I’m behind, if you’d like to see the list of POTW for the other weeks of the season, check ‘em out here.)
National Rankings - Week #6, October 2, 2017
#3 Penn State (PW: 3)
#4 Nebraska (PW: 8)
#6 Minnesota (PW: 3)
#7 Wisconsin (PW: 7)
#14 Michigan State (PW: 16)
#18 Purdue (PW: 19)
#22 Michigan (PW: 23)
RV: Illinois (24), OSU (9)
Indiana and Rutgers have yet to win a set in Big Ten play. Who keeps their goose egg the longest?
This poll is closed