Big Ten 2023, News.

Rutgers 0810

Rutgers' first victory in the season was also a historic one for the program (Photo: Rutgers)

If the third week of the Big Ten women’s volleyball season didn’t cause much of an impact at the top of the standings, with Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State remaining undefeated, there was some movement on the lower part of the table, with some programs moving up.

After dropping all their four matches in the first two weeks of conference play, Rutgers and Michigan triumphed this week, leaving Iowa as the only winless program after six matches.

  • Watch the Big Ten Volleyball matches live on VBTV.

Rutgers’ first victory in the 2023 Big Ten conference was also arguably the biggest one in program history as, for the first time, the Scarlet Knights triumphed over a team ranked inside the top 25 in the country, taking Minnesota down 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 16-25, 25-14) at home in Piscataway on Saturday.

Australian sophomore outside hitter Alissa Kinkela led the team to the big win with 20 points (17 kills, two blocks, one ace) and 13 digs, registering her third double-double of the season. Sophomore middle blocker Rikki Williams had 13 points, with ten kills and three blocks.

Before the historic victory, the Scarlet Knights, who have one win and five losses, were defeated by Ohio State 3-1 (25-21, 26-24, 18-25, 25-14) on Friday.

Michigan’s first triumph of the season happened on Friday, when the Wolverines topped Northwestern 3-1 (25-23, 24-26, 25-23, 25-20) at home, in Ann Arbor. It was also the first victory of the program in a Big Ten match under the guidance of head coach Erin Virtue.

Argentinean freshman opposite Valentina Vaulet had a stellar performance, with 20 points (11 kills, six aces, three blocks), while senior setter Scottee Johnson produced a double-double with 34 assists and 18 digs.

Michigan couldn’t follow up on the win with another one as they faced Nebraska at home on Saturday and fell in straight sets (29-27, 25-27, 25-14). Earlier, on Friday, the Cornhuskers snatched another road win, beating Michigan State 3-1 (25-23, 16-25, 25-15, 25-11) in East Lansing.

Defending champions Wisconsin got their first victory of the week on Wednesday, on the road, sweeping (25-19, 25-18, 25-16) Iowa, and then went to Champaign to defeat Illinois also in three sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-12) on Saturday.

Among the three undefeated teams, Penn State had the hardest weekend, securing back-to-back five-set home wins against Indiana (18-25, 25-9, 25-21, 19-25, 15-11) on Friday and Ohio State (25-23, 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-7) on Saturday.

Week four begins on Wednesday with two matches and continues until Sunday, with another 12 duels. Two encounters – the one between Nebraska and Michigan State on Friday, at 18:00 local time (23:00 UTC), and the one involving Minnesota and Northwestern on Sunday, at 12:30 local time (17:30 UTC) – will be streamed live to VBTV subscribers around the world.

Quick links:
Big Ten Volleyball
Subscribe to Volleyball World's Newsletter