Things are tightening in the B1G. Nebraska went 0-2, UW lost, and, suddenly, seven teams are within two games of each other at the top of the standings. Despite losing @ Purdue Sunday, Wisconsin (@Northwestern, @Iowa this week) is well-positioned to benefit this week as Illinois and Ohio State each host both Minnesota and Nebraska.
While I named Illinois team of the week, Purdue deserves some attention too. The trip to Evanston could have been tricky, but the Boilermakers won in straight sets. Then they topped it off by taking down Wisconsin at home in four. They are still two games out of first place, but if they navigate this week (@Maryland, @Rutgers) successfully, they head to Madison on Nov. 12 with a chance to make the conference title race really interesting.
Last Week’s Results:
Wed. 10/27: #12 Purdue def. Northwestern: 25-16, 25-19, 25-17
BRT: I went to this match, and it rained buckets all day long, turning the Devaney parking lot and surrounding streets into an absolute mess. Nebraska also played something like a drowned rat in this one too—it didn’t feel as hopeless as the game against Louisville earlier in the year, but it also didn’t feel like they were a threat to get on the right side of Wisconsin either. This was disappointing, because while Wisconsin looked good, they also didn’t look unbeatable—but the Huskers just couldn’t capitalize.
Fri. 10/29: Illinois def. Rutgers: 25-27, 25-20, 25-11, 22-25, 15-12
Fri. 10/29: #9 Ohio State def. Michigan: 33-31, 25-18, 25-17
Fri. 10/29: Iowa def. Michigan State: 27-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-21
Fri. 10/29: #13 Penn State def. Maryland: 25-23, 25-10, 25-20
Sat. 10/30: Illinois def. #13 Penn State: 20-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-22
Sat. 10/30: Michigan def. Iowa: 25-16, 25-21, 25-21
Sat. 10/30: Northwestern def. Indiana: 25-13, 23-25, 25-10, 25-19
Sat. 10/30: #11 Minnesota def. #6 Nebraska: 25-22, 28-30, 25-21, 23-25, 15-9
BRT: This was a frustrating game for Husker fans, because Nebraska basically gave this match to Minnesota through a night of unrelenting errors, both service and otherwise. That they still managed to take this to five sets, coming back from big deficits in most of the sets, says a lot about this team’s moxie, but they’ve got to get the unforced lapses fixed if they want to have a long post-season.
Sun. 10/31: #12 Purdue def. #3 Wisconsin: 25-20, 25-22, 20-25, 28-26
Sun. 10/31: #9 Ohio State def. Michigan State: 26-24, 15-25, 25-16, 25-22
Sun. 10/31: Maryland def. Rutgers: 25-19, 25-15, 25-12
Awards and Kudos
- Wisconsin 10-2
- Nebraska 10-2
- Minnesota 9-3
- Penn State 8-4
- Illinois 8-4
- Ohio State 8-4
- Purdue 8-4
- Michigan 6-6
- Maryland 6-6
- Northwestern 5-7
- Indiana 3-9
- Michigan State 2-10
- Iowa 1-11
- Rutgers 0-12
Team of the week: Illinois
Yeah, yeah, needing five sets to beat last-place Rutgers wouldn’t normally get you consideration for team of the week, but when you pair it with a road win over Penn State? Now you’ve got something! The 2-0 week moved Illinois into a four-way tie for fourth in the B1G standings, and into the national rankings at #25.
The Illini host Minnesota and Nebraska this week. A sweep there could well see them tied for second this time next week. Illinois is rounding into form. Catch them (twice!) on BTN this week.
Best match: Minnesota over Nebraska
This wasn’t always—or even often—a great match aesthetically. Minnesota hit .168 and won! But it always felt like a matchup of heavyweights. Players were flying all over the court (there were over 200 digs combined), there were multiple long rallies, and a ton of tense points. Minnesota’s Stephanie Samedy combined 20 kills with 26 digs and Nebraska’s Lexi Sun played better (and more) than she has in some time.
The fifth set was tied 9-all at one point, and that was a result of three Nebraska service errors (of twelve total for the match). Minnesota got a side out to go up 10-9 and Samedy (of course) served out the match, ending things with an ace. One of the B1G’s best played her best at the biggest moments to see Minnesota through.
This week’s top matches (all times Central):
CONFERENCE TITLE CHASE
Thurs. 11/4: #11 Minnesota @ #7 Ohio State (6:00, BTN)
Thurs. 11/4: #9 Nebraska @ #25 Illinois (8:00, BTN)
Sat. 11/6: #9 Nebraska @ #7 Ohio State (6:00, BTN)
Sat. 11/6: #11 Minnesota @ #25 Illinois (8:00, BTN)
THE SCRAMBLE TO MAKE THE NCAA
Fri. 11/5: #8 Purdue @ Maryland (6:00, BTN+)
Fri. 11/5: Michigan @ #15 Penn State (6:30, BTN+)
Sun. 11/7: Michigan @ Maryland (Noon, BTN+)