Big Ten 2023, News.

Wisconsin 2611

Wisconsin players celebrate a big win over Nebraska (Photo: Wisconsin)

The last week of Big Ten women’s volleyball conference matches confirmed the presence of five programs from the division in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Championship, which starts next week, on November 30.

Besides Nebraska, who earned a spot as the Big Ten champions, will also compete for the national title Wisconsin, Penn State, Purdue and Minnesota, who were selected by the Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee to compete in the 64-team event.

  • Watch the Big Ten Volleyball matches on demand on VBTV.

Wisconsin had the biggest win of the last week of Big Ten conference play, becoming the first team to take Nebraska down in the season. The Cornhuskers had won their first 27 matches of the season entering Friday’s encounter, but the Badgers made great use of their homecourt advantage in Madison to get an empathic sweep (25-22, 28-26, 25-16).

“This match, for us, wasn't about Nebraska,” Wisconsin’s head coach Kelly Sheffield said. “When you've lost two out of your last three, it was about us playing well at the end, and it was essential for us to start playing well, no matter who we're playing. We wanted to play well headed into the tournament. When we're playing well, we're a handful.”

Junior opposite Anna Smrek led Wisconsin’s victory with a match-high 21 points, registering 18 kills and three blocks. Senior outside hitter Sarah Franklin got 16 points, all in kills.

After beating Nebraska, Wisconsin completed a successful weekend with another sweep (25-21, 25-10, 25-16), this one against Iowa, on Saturday, and finished second in the Big Ten with 17 wins and three losses. On the same day, Nebraska (19-1) topped Minnesota 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 21-25, 25-23) on the road.

Penn State get a pair of sweeps

Third-placed Penn State (15-5) ended conference play strong, getting sweeps on the road against Maryland, on Wednesday, and Ohio State, on Friday, and extending their winning streak to six matches.

Fourth-placed Purdue (15-5) also kept their recent good form, playing on the road twice and defeating Michigan State and Michigan in straight sets on Friday and Saturday – they have now won seven consecutive matches.

The fifth Big Ten team in the National Championship, Minnesota secured a key three-set home win against Illinois on Friday before falling to Nebraska and completed conference play with 12 wins and eight losses.

With 64 teams in action, the National Championship playoffs will begin on November 30 and will culminate with the Final Four, which will be held in Tampa, Florida, from December 14-17.

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