Unpredictable has been the word most commonly uttered to describe this year’s Big Ten women’s volleyball season. Until the past few weeks, there was a genuine sentiment that any team had a chance to pull off a win, regardless of the matchup. However, as so often has been the case in this conference over the past decade, Penn State has asserted itself and begun to separate from the rest of the pack.
Through 10 matches of the Big Ten season, the nation’s deepest and most decorated conference has lived up to its billing. Upsets have been plentiful, top 15 matchups are the norm and contenders have emerged from the pack. The standings have rarely looked the same on any given week, and early-season surprises have struggled to endure the grind of the league.
“The margin for error in our conference is as thin as it has ever been.” Michigan head coach Mark Rosen made that statement heading into last Saturday night, a night that may have represented a first in Big Ten women’s volleyball. All 12 teams were in action, and at the end of the evening, all but two would play nerve-racking 5-set matches.
Check out all the big kills, spikes and digs from Big Ten volleyball teams this past week. We’ll do the same thing every week, so come back each Tuesday for all the best highlights.
Conversations with Big Ten coaches have had one common theme heading into the start of conference play: No one has any idea where his/her team, or any of their fellow members, will end up in the title race come the end of November. The Big Ten has been the strongest conference in the nation over the past few seasons, but in a year that has witnessed the league set a new NCAA record for teams in the Top 25 (9), the Big Ten’s coaches are hesitant to make any predictions.