For the first time in program history, the Illinois volleyball team is ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Poll, released Monday. The Illini, who were No. 3 last week, received 55 of the 60 first-place votes after opening Big Ten play with a pair of wins to move to 13-0 on the season. No. 7 Nebraska, No. 9 Penn State, No. 10 Minnesota, No. 12 Purdue, No. 17 Michigan and No. 22 Ohio State also made the poll. Get more on the latest volleyball news every Monday on “The Women’s Sports Report.” Watch our interview with Illinois’ Colleen Ward now.
It’s finally that time. Big Ten play kicks off Saturday, starting with a trio of noon ET games, including Michigan (4-0) hosting Minnesota (1-3) on BTN. Now that the full weeks of nonconference action are a thing of the past, BTN.com web editor and blogger Brent Yarina looks back at the first four weeks and offers his nonconference Big Ten honors. Watch now as “The Big Ten Pulse” also discusses nonconference awards and see all of Brent’s winners in this post.
Find out more about: #B1G Honors
Penn State used Ali Schaefer’s third goal of the weekend to propel the Nittany Lions to a 1-0 win over No. 22 Illinois on Sunday at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions (9-3-0, 2-1-0 Big Ten) used a set piece to settle the score. Christine Nairn played a corner kick to Schaefer, who headed the ball to Whitney Church on the far post. Church moved around two Illini defenders and slotted a short ball to Schaefer who put it away from 15 yards out on the far left post in the 39th minute.
Find out more about: Student U
Every week during the college football season, Brent Yarina posts his latest Big Ten Power Rankings. Week 4 saw the Big Ten go 8-2, including wins from Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin, all of which will bring perfect records into the first week of conference play. As for the power rankings, they are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply Brent’s thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands after its latest game and entering its next contest. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina.
Find out more about: Power Rankings
The votes are in, and our fans selected Illinois’ narrow victory over Western Michigan on Saturday as the “Big Ten Game of the Week.” Catch the re-air at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on BTN. This one came down to the wire as the Illini, who rallied from a 13-10 halftime deficit, were able to stop the Broncos and prevent them from attempting a potential game-tying field goal in the final seconds. With the win, Illinois moved to 4-0, the first time its been perfect after four games since it won the national title in 1951.
(AP) Troy Pollard carried the ball for a career-high 133 yards and No. 24 needed all three of Derek Dimke‘s field goals Saturday to survive Western Michigan, 23-20. The Illini trailed at the half 13-10 and the game was tied 20-20 with less than nine minutes to play. Booing Illini fans recalled a 23-17 loss to the Broncos (2-2) the last time the teams met in 2008. Pollard’s 49-yard burst midway through the fourth quarter set up a 21-yard Dimke field goal that gave the Illini (4-0) the three-point lead they wouldn’t give up. Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder was 30 of 48 with two touchdowns, 306 yards and one interception. Read the full AP recap, check out the box score and see our Big Ten scoreboard.
Find out more about: Rapid Recaps