Relatively speaking, this is a pretty light week coming up in terms of ranked showdowns. Which is good, because with MBB starting and the B1G men’s soccer title match on Sunday, VB is crowded off the schedule this week. The only match on BTN is Purdue’s trip to Minnesota Sunday afternoon. That will follow Purdue’s match @ Wisconsin Friday night. Win both, and Purdue is tied for second, and a match back of UW for first. But given the way Minnesota played last week, and a Badger squad looking for revenge for a loss in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers will have their work cut out for them just earning a split.
Last Week’s Results:
Sat. 11/6: #7 Ohio State def. #9 Nebraska: 27-25, 25-21, 25-23
Sat. 11/6: #11 Minnesota def. #25 Illinois: 25-22, 25-16, 25-14
Sat. 11/6: #15 Penn State def. Michigan State: 25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 15-13
Sat. 11/6: #4 Wisconsin def. Iowa: 25-16, 25-23, 25-20
Sun. 11/7: #8 Purdue def. Rutgers: 20-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-20
Sun. 11/7: Michigan def. Maryland: 25-13, 25-14, 25-22
Sun. 11/7: Northwestern def. Indiana: 25-20, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22
Awards and Kudos
- Wisconsin 12-2
- Nebraska 11-3
- Minnesota 11-3
- Penn State 10-4
- Purdue 10-4
- Ohio State 9-5
- Illinois 8-6
- Michigan 7-7
- Maryland 6-8
- Northwestern 6-8
- Indiana 3-11
- Michigan State 3-11
- Iowa 2-12
- Rutgers 0-14
Team of the week: Minnesota
Less than three weeks ago, Minnesota got swept at home by Penn State, falling to 6-3 in conference play, three matches behind first place Nebraska, and putting any hopes of a B1G title on life support. A five-match win streak later, the Gophers are now tied with Nebraska at 11-3, one match back of Wisconsin, who still has to make the trip to the Twin Cities a week from Sunday. In other words, Minnesota controls their own destiny for at least a share of the conference title. And they’ve done it going through Nebraska, Ohio State and Illinois the last three matches, the last two on the road. Jenna Wenaas and Airi Miyabe both had excellent performances last week, giving Stephanie Samedy all the help she needed (which is not much). No word on if/when Taylor Landfair is coming back, but Minnesota has already righted the ship. A healthy Landfair might just make Minnesota the Final Four contender I had them pegged to be before conference play started.
Best match: Penn State over Michigan
Penn State’s victory over Michigan State was the only five set match of the week, but that saw PSU blow a two set lead. The Nittany Lions’ victory over Michigan was a taut four-set affair. Though no set went to extra points, each set saw the losing squad score at least 22, and both teams hit well (.293 for Michigan and .298 for PSU). There were 20 combined service errors. Nonetheless this was a well-played, close match between a Michigan squad hungry for a road win and a Penn State team looking to stay in the conference title race. By the slightest of margins, PSU saw their way through.
This week’s top matches (all times Central):
CONFERENCE TITLE CHASE
Fri. 11/12: #9 Purdue @ #4 Wisconsin (7:00, BTN+, BOO!!!)
Sun. 11/14: #10 Ohio State @ #25 Illinois (Noon, BTN+, BOO!!!)
Sat. 11/6: #9 Purdue @ #8 Minnesota (3:30, BTN, YAY!!!)
THE SCRAMBLE TO MAKE THE NCAA
Fri. 11/12: #15 Penn State @ Michigan (6:00, BTN+)
Again, besides Purdue’s road trip, a pretty nondescript week. Michigan, who is hanging around at #29 in the RPI, gets a shot of firming up their NCAA profile by hosting the return match with Penn State. Nebraska should win both matches comfortably as should every other ranked team in matches other than those listed above.
Catch your breath, because the last two weeks of conference play will not lack for drama.