Big Ten 2023, News.

Beason 0511

Beason (13) delivered great performances in matches against Penn State and Rutgers (Photo: Nebraska)

Junior opposite Merritt Beason stepped up in arguably the most challenging moment for Nebraska in the Big Ten women’s volleyball conference and helped the Cornhuskers continue as the only undefeated team in the division following the conclusion of the seventh week of action.

Besides the Big Ten leaders, Michigan State also had a big week, getting a pair of sweeps to move up from seventh to fifth place and continue strong in what has been their best campaign since 2018.

  • Watch the Big Ten Volleyball matches live on VBTV.

Nebraska were first on the court on Friday, on the road against Penn State, and, for the first time in the season, saw themselves down two sets to an opponent. A spectacular game from Beason, who left the court with an incredible 31 points (27 kills, three blocks, one ace), propelled the Cornhuskers to react and win in five sets (15-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, 15-13).

The junior opposite, who set a new record in her collegiate career with 27 kills against the Nittany Lions, delivered another huge performance on Sunday, when she contributed 26 points (21 kills, five blocks) in a sweep (25-15, 25-20, 25-18) of Rutgers, also on the road.

“Here’s the deal with Merritt,” Nebraska’s head coach John Cook said after the match. “It’s like every time she gets set the ball, you expect her to kill the ball. When she doesn’t, it’s like, ‘Come on, Merritt’. She’s been really impressive.”

With 14 wins, Nebraska lead the Big Ten standings and their 23-match winning streak since the start of the season is already the second-best in program history – the Cornhuskers won their first 28 matches in 2005.

Defending champions Wisconsin also won their two matches in the weekend, beating Purdue at home in four sets (25-14, 16-25, 25-18, 25-14) on Wednesday and sweeping (25-13, 25-13, 25-12) Illinois on Saturday.

On Sunday, Purdue defeated Penn State in five sets (25-17, 25-15, 21-25, 20-25, 15-12) in a direct battle for third place and were able to catch their opponents with nine wins and five losses, but continue behind them in fourth place.

Michigan State continue to rise

The weekend was also prolific for Michigan State, who won their two matches and moved up from seventh to fifth with eight wins and six losses, registering a campaign with more wins than losses in the Big Ten for the first time since 2018.

Currently on a three-match winning streak, the Spartans had a pair of home matches this weekend and topped Maryland 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-22) on Friday before sweeping Iowa (25-11, 25-21, 25-22) on Saturday.

With 11 points in the first match and 17 in the second, freshman outside hitter Taylah Holdem led Michigan State’s offense over the weekend. Graduate middle blocker Amani McArthur, who tallied ten blocks across both matches, and senior libero Nalani Iosia, who produced 30 digs, were also in great form for the Spartans.

The eighth week of Big Ten action starts on Wednesday, with two matches, and will be followed with another five on Friday, one on Saturday and six on Sunday.

Three matches will be streamed live for VBTV subscribers around the world – Nebraska vs. Northwestern, on Wednesday, at 19:00 local time (01:00 Thursday, GMT), Minnesota vs. Purdue, on Friday, at 18:00 local time (00:00 Saturday, GMT), and Nebraska vs. Illinois, on Sunday, at 14:00 local time (20:00 GMT).

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