[ONE // huskers fall to stanford in ncaa volleyball championship final]
After defeating third-seeded Illinois in a national semifinal five-set thriller, No. 7 Nebraska fell to No. 1 Stanford in five sets (26-28, 25-22, 16-25, 25-15, 12-15)on Saturday night in the NCAA Volleyball Championship final. In one of the closest final matches in NCAA history, only one point separated the two teams as Stanford outscored Nebraska 105-104 in the match. The match was the Huskers’ ninth national championship appearance in program history. Nebraska has now win five national titles and finished national runner-up on four occasions. Illinois and Nebraska’s national semifinal berths marked the 16th-straight yearthat the Big Ten has had at least one team in the national semifinals. Since 1981, at least one conference team has reached the national semifinals 20 times and two teams appeared a total of 11 times. The weekend marked Nebraska’s fourth consecutive trip to the national semifinals and Illinois’ first since 2011.
[TWO // all-america teams announced in volleyball; foecke earns senior class award]
Seventeen Big Ten volleyball students were selected as American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Americans, as announced by the AVCA on Wednesday. The total ties the Big Ten record of honorees. A Big Ten-record nine Big Ten students are first-team All-America selections. Represented on the first team are Illinois’ Jordyn Poulter and Jacqueline Quade, Minnesota’s Stephanie Samedy and Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Nebraska’s Mikaela Foecke and Lauren Stivrins, Penn State’s Kendall White, Purdue’s Sherridan Atkinson and Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke. The Big Ten also had three second-team All-America honorees, five third-team selections, and 10 students named honorable mention. In addition to the national acclaim, Nebraska’s Foecke was selected as the 2018 Senior CLASS Award® winnerin NCAA® Division I women’s volleyball.
[THREE // ten football, volleyball standouts named academic all-americans]
Eight Big Ten football standouts and two volleyball students were named to the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Google Cloud Academic All-America Division I teams in their respective sports, it announced by CoSIDA on Monday. In volleyball, Iowa senior libero Molly Kelly was selected as the Google Cloud Academic All-America® of the Year for Division I women’s volleyball and given first team honors. Michigan State junior defensive specialist Samantha McLean earned third team recognition. For football, this year’s Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten are Minnesota’s Payton Jordahl and Gary Moore, Ohio State’s Jordan Fuller and Penn State’s Blake Gillikin. Iowa’s Anthony Nelson, Michigan State’s Cole Chewins, Minnesota’s Sam Renner and Purdue’s Joe Schopper are the Big Ten students who received Academic All-America second-team accolades this season. To be eligible for Academic All-America status, a student must be in at least his second year of athletic eligibility, be a starter or key performer, and carry a cumulative 3.30 grade-point average (GPA).
[FOUR // big ten football represented by 16 all-americans]
A number of Big Ten football standouts were honored with All-America distinction this past week. Eight students were named Walter Camp All-Americans, including a trio of first-team selections, while 15 standouts were named All-Americans by the Associated Press and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), and six earned All-America plaudits from the Sporting News. And with the announcement of All-America teams by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), a total of 16 Big Ten standouts from eight different schools have earned All-America status. Michigan leads the way with four honorees, followed by three each for Iowa and Wisconsin, and Ohio State with two.
[FIVE // michigan men move to 11-0, badgers, buckeyes, hoosiers pick up ninth wins in dramatic fashion]
With just 13 games on the docket this week, Big Ten men’s basketball turned in a 10-3 performance, which included Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin securing their ninth win of the season. The Hoosiers did so in dramatic fashion Saturday as freshman Rob Phinisee hit a game-winning three-pointer from 30 feet as time expired to give IU a 71-68 victory over in-state foe Butler in the Crossroads Classic. Juwan Morgan scored a career-high 35 points in the win. All eyes were on Wisconsin Thursday as the Badgers were the only Big Ten team in action. UW toppled Savannah State 101-60 in record fashion. The Badgers got ahead immediately and never looked back, taking a 69-32 lead into halftime. Wisconsin’s 69 points in the first frame marked a school record for points in a half. The previous best was 67, set against Iowa in 1988. In Columbus, Kaleb Wesson led all scorers, tallying his second-career double-double with a career-best 22 points and 10 boards, to help No. 15 Ohio State fend off Bucknell 73-71 on Sunday. All three teams remain two wins shy of Big Ten leader Michigan, which defeated Western Michigan 70-62 on Saturday to move to 11-0.
[SIX // women’s basketball near perfect on the week]
Big Ten women’s basketball teams combined for a near-perfect 11-1 record on the week, with the lone loss occurring in the final contest of the week, which was Purdue’s near-miss upset in double-overtime against No. 25 South Carolina, 82-73. Three teams are still unbeaten on the season, including Maryland and Minnesota at 10-0 and Indiana at 9-0. No. 7/7 Maryland earned its 10thwin of the season this past Monday with an 83-48 victory over Loyola (Md.), while the No. 13/16 Golden Gophers picked up their 10thwith an 84-52 result over Coppin State. Indiana was idle on the week.
[SEVEN // illinois named preseason favorite in men’s gymnastics]
The Illinois men’s gymnastics team was selected to earn top honors by the seven Big Ten coaches, announced Thursday. The Fighting Illini won the 2018 Big Ten Championships, earning their first title since 2012. Minnesota, second-place finishers at the 2018 NCAA Championships, was voted second in the poll, with Michigan third, Penn State fourth, and Ohio State fifth. Nebraska and Iowa rounded out the poll, respectively. The Conference also announced the 2019 Big Ten Men’s Gymnasts to Watch list, featuring eight Academic All-Big Ten honorees. Gymnasts to watch include Academic All-Big Ten honorees such as Illinois’ Alex Diab, a 2018 first-team All-Big Ten selection, and Sebastian Quiana, Iowa’s Jake Brodarzon, Minnesota’s Vitali Kan, Nebraska’s Jake Bonnay and Anton Stephenson, a 2018 first-team All-Big Ten honoree, and Penn State’s Wyatt Tyndall and Sam Zakutney. The 2018 Big Ten season finished with two individual NCAA champions in Penn State’s Stephen Nedoroscik on the pommel horse and Illinois’ Alex Diab on the rings. Minnesota placed second in the team competition at the NCAA National Championships, with Nebraska taking fifth and Penn State sixth.
[EIGHT // wolverines atop women’s gymnastics preseason poll]
Five-time defending Big Ten women’s gymnastics champion Michigan was named the favorite in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the conference office announced Thursday. The Wolverines were followed by No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Illinois, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 6 Iowa. Penn State and Maryland earned the seventh and eighth spots, respectively, with No. 9 Michigan State and No. 10 Rutgers rounding out the poll. The Big Ten also announced the 2019 Gymnasts to Watch List, with eight returning All-Big Ten standouts headlining the list. First-team returners include Illinois’ Rae Balthazor, Maryland’s Audrey Barber, Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler, Nebraska’s Sienna Crouse and Penn State’s Lauren Bridgens. Returning second-team honorees include Nebraska’s Taylor Houchin, Ohio State’s Jamie Stone and Penn State’s Sabrina Garcia. Last season, Michigan finished 8-1 and earned the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships title, its 24th overall and fifth-consecutive crown.
[NINE // several women’s soccer standout named united soccer coaches scholars]
Four Big Ten women’s soccer students earned Scholar All-America honors, while 16 others received Scholar All-Region citations, it was announced this past week by United Soccer Coaches. A total of eight Big Ten schools are represented among this year’s United Soccer Coaches Scholars class. Big Ten Champion and NCAA Tournament quarterfinalist Penn State had two students chosen as Scholar All-Americans, with both senior midfielder Emily Ogle and junior defender Kaleigh Riehl earning first-team honors. Minnesota senior forward April Bockin was a second-team Scholar All-American, while Northwestern senior defender Kayla Sharples collected third-team accolades for the second consecutive season.
[TEN // ohio state’s snyder earns national recognition; btn announces new president]
Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder was one of 10 former students honored as the 2019 Today’s Top 10 Award winners. The award recognizes former students for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2017-18 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 23, in Orlando, Florida. The honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, composed of representatives of NCAA member schools, conferences and distinguished citizens, including past awardees. Snyder, a 2018 graduate of Ohio State, captured both the Big Ten and NCAA heavyweight wrestling titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Snyder reached the NCAA finals all four seasons and helped the Buckeyes to an NCAA team championship in 2015 with runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2018. He earned All-America honors during each campaign and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. That same year, he brought home Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro, leading to his distinction as the 2017 U.S. Olympic Committee’s Male Athlete of the Year. In other news this past week, FOX Sports and the Big Ten announced it has named veteran media executive Francois McGillicuddy to the position of President, Big Ten Network (BTN). McGillicuddy will assume his new role in early 2019 and take over the day-to-day operations for BTN currently held by Mark Silverman, who was elevated in January 2018 to the position of President, National Networks, FOX Sports.