If there was a collective statement set out to be made by the Big Ten coaches and players coming into this year’s NCAA Tournament, then the nation is listening after Thursday night. For the first time in history, two Big Ten women’s volleyball teams will play for the NCAA national title.
It’s an all-Big Ten final in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament as No. 12 seed Wisconsin and No. 2 seed Penn State both won Thursday night matches. The two Big Ten programs will play for the title on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET in Seattle. It’s the first all-Big Ten national final in NCAA history.
An unprecedented seven Big Ten teams entered last weekend with dreams of reaching the Final Four. After the last whistle Saturday night, two still remained, as Penn State and Wisconsin advanced to Seattle for the national semifinals.
Penn State and Wisconsin advanced to the the NCAA national semifinals Saturday night. The Nittany Lions defeated Stanford, 3-2, to extend their winning streak to 23 straight matches, while the Badgers topped Big Ten rival Purdue, 3-1, to earn their first Final Four berth since 2000. Nebraska fell to Texas, 3-0, in the other Big Ten match.
Four Big Ten volleyball teams advanced to the NCAA regional finals Friday night. Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin all recorded Sweet 16 victories, with the Nittany Lions downing Michigan State and Purdue sweeping Illinois. Minnesota fell to Stanford. Catch up on all the action in this post.
Coaches, players and fans can all agree that the Big Ten represents the best caliber of volleyball in all the nation. The conference proved that on Sunday, as an unprecedented seven teams reached regional play, setting a new NCAA record.