The Big Ten women’s volleyball season is a new highlight in Volleyball TV's extensive offering of live volleyball in 2022, with over 70 matches to be streamed live around the world starting at the end of August.
Your guide to the Big Ten's 14 teams
Opublikowane 01:00, 25 sie 2022
The Big Ten Conference is widely recognised as one of the best in the American collegiate system for women's volleyball, with their teams winning nine of the last 15 national championships and producing nine of the 12 players that were part of the USA national team roster that won gold at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Here’s all you need to know about the 14 college teams that will contend for the Big Ten title in 2022:
The defending national champions will try to secure their fourth-straight Big Ten Conference title, which would enable them to play their ninth consecutive and 26th NCAA National Championship overall. The Badgers were almost flawless last season, ending their run with a 17-3 Conference win-loss record (31-3 overall).
Coach Kelly Sheffield will be able to count on a number of players from last year’s winning squad, including Polish outside hitter Julia Orzol and middle blockers Danielle Hart and Devyn Robinson - the latter was also part of the American team that won gold at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball U18 World Championship. Another middle blocker, Canadian player Anna Smrek represented her country at the same tournament and is the tallest athlete to ever play for the team at 2.05m. The Badgers also boast an important new player in outside hitter Sarah Franklin, who transferred from Conference rivals Michigan State after being the third-best hitter in the Conference.
The Cornhuskers have won three Big Ten titles since they joined the Conference in 2011. They finished second last season, and were also runners-up in the NCAA National Championship. The five-time national champions had a 15-4 Conference win-loss record and 26 wins and eight losses overall last season.
Set to start his 23rd season at the helm, head coach John Cook will be able to use two of his three top scorers from last year. including outside hitters Madi Kubik and Lindsay Krause. Libero Lexi Rodriguez is also among the best in her position in the Big Ten. Krause, Rodriguez and setter Kennedi Orr won gold at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball U18 World Championship together. Nebraska have three other players who represented the United States in Age Group World Championships in outside hitter Ally Batenhorst and middle blockers Rebekah Alick and Maggie Mendelson.
The Buckeyes will attempt to finish first in the Big Ten Conference for the first time since 1994, when they won their third and most recent title. The team has shown progress with head coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg, as she took them to the NCCA National Championship for the first time in four seasons in 2020 and led them to their best Big Ten campaign in more than 15 seasons in 2021, when Ohio State finished third in the Conference with a 15-5 win-loss record (27-6 overall).
The squad features 2014 world champion Nicole Fawcett as one of its assistant coaches, and has talent everywhere with setter Mac Podraza, opposite Emily Londot, outside hitter Gabby Gonzalez, middle blocker Rylee Radar, libero Kylie Murr and defensive specialist Sydney Taylor all in the line-up. Londot and Taylor were U18 world champions back in 2019.
The Boilermakers will be looking for their eighth-straight NCAA National Championship appearance after missing out in 2014. They have won the Big Ten Conference on four occasions, with the most recent victory dating back to 1985. They ranked fourth in their last campaign with a 15-5 win-loss record (26-7 overall).
Middle blocker Raven Colvin will be one of the key returnees for head coach Dave Shondell, alongside libero Maddie Schermerhorn and outside hitters Emma Ellis and Maddy Chinn, while Megan Renner and Grace Balensiefer will be options for the setter position.
The Golden Gophers finished in the top five in the Big Ten in each of the last seven seasons, winning the Conference in 2015 and 2018 (they were also victorious back in 2002). Their last campaign included 15 wins and five losses (22-9 overall) and was good enough for fifth in the Conference.
An Olympic champion coaching the United States men’s national team in 2008, head coach Hugh McCutcheon has plenty of options at the middle blocker position with Carter Booth, Ellie Husemann and Arica Davis, who transferred from Ohio State. A bronze medallist at last year’s FIVB U18 World Championship, outside hitter McKenna Wucherer has joined the team and will play alongside older sister and setter Miranda, offering a new alternative at the position that already boasts Taylor Landfair.
The winningest team in the Conference, the Nitanny Lions are the only squad to have featured in every edition of the NCAA National Championship since it was created, in 1981. They have claimed seven national titles and 17 Big Ten victories. They’ve now finished sixth in back-to-back seasons after producing a 13-7 win record (21-11 overall) last season.
Head coach Russ Rose, who led the team to each of their seven titles, and was with the program for 43 years, announced his retirement after last season, and was replaced by assistant coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley. She has middle blockers Allie Holland and Taylor Trammell and outside hitters Anjelina Starck and Anastasiya Kudryashova as the cornerstones of her team.
The Fighting Illini were a force in the very first years of the Big Ten volleyball tournament, winning four titles between 1986 and 1992. They were seventh last season with 12 wins and eight losses within the Conference, and an overall campaign of 22-12.
Head coach Chris Tamas, who led the team to an NCAA National Championship semifinal appearance in 2018, will have most of last season’s top producers back. They include outside hitter Raina Terry, middle blocker Kyla Swanson and setter Diana Brown.
The Wolverines won the first Big Ten volleyball tournament, in 1981, and only returned to the top three once, in 1997. The team, which played in the NCAA National Championship semifinals in 2012, was eighth in the conference last season with an 11-9 win-loss record (18-12 overall).
Most of head coach Mark Rosen’s starters last year will be back, most notably setter Scottee Johnson, opposite May Pertofsky, outside hitter Jess Mruzik and libero Hannah Grant. He’ll have a new player to work with in transferred outside hitter Allison Jacobs, who, like Mruzik, is a 2019 U18 world champion.
The Terrapins will be looking for their first top-five finish in the Big Ten after joining the Conference in 2014. The school won four titles in the conference it played in previously, the Atlantic Coast, but couldn’t finish better than eighth in the Big Ten, including last year, when they ranked ninth with a 7-13 win-loss record (19-13 overall).
Entering his fifth year at the helm, head coach Adam Hughes has last season's best blocker in the conference in middle Rainelle Jones, and other promising players like setter Sydney Dowler, opposite Laila Ricks and transferred middle blocker Anastasia Russ.
Big Ten champions in 1983 and 1984, the Wildcats never finished in the top three in the conference again after their most recent victory. Last season they won seven and lost 13 matches (12-19 overall), finishing in tenth place.
Despite their inconsistent campaign, the team had the second-best scorer in the conference in outside hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara. Head coach Shane Davis will have most of his other starters back too, including libero Megan Miller and setter Alexa Rosseau.
The Spartans won back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1995 and 1996 and made it to the NCAA National Championship semifinals in their first participation. Last year they were 11th with a campaign of four wins and 16 losses (11-18 overall).
First-year head coach Leah Johnson has lost the team’s main offensive player from last season, outside hitter Sarah Franklin, to defending champions Wisconsin. Johnson will have to rely on middle blocker Rebecka Poljan to provide the team’s offensive punch, while libero Nalani Iosia handles the backcourt. The Spartans did a lot of their recruiting overseas this season, bringing in two freshmen from Türkiye in middle blocker Nil Okur and opposite Selin Aslayan.
Although they have five NCAA National Championship appearances, the Hoosiers are yet to secure a top-three finish in the Big Ten. Last season, they were 11th with four wins and 16 losses to their conference opponents, and an overall campaign of ten wins and 22 losses.
One of the key individual standouts in the team led by head coach Steve Aird, defensive specialist Paula Cerame will provide some stability on the backcourt and help setter Camryn Haworth. Middle blockers Kaley Rammelsberg and Savannah Kjolhede were also productive in 2021. The Hoosiers also added two international players in Spanish outside hitter Candela Alonso-Corcelles and Turkish opposite Melisa Ilter.
The Hawkeyes have been away from the Big Ten top three for quite some time, as their only results at this level were a second-place finish in 1988 and two thirds in 1986 and 1994. Last season, they ranked 13th with a 4-16 win-loss record in the Conference and 6-24 overall.
The roster head coach Jim Barnes has in his first year with the team will probably include outside hitter Addie VanderWeide and middle blocker Amiya Jones as its main scoring options, and libero Mari Hinkle as a reliable presence in defence.
Since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten in 2014, they have only been able to avoid the bottom of the standings once, in 2020, when they were ninth. Last season, they lost all their 19 conference matches and ended the season with an 8-21 overall record.
The roster first-year head coach Caitlin Schweihofer will get to work with features several international athletes like outside hitters Styliani Antypa (Greece), Yagmur Yavuz (Türkiye) and Alissa Kinkela (Australia) and middle blockers Megan Vernon (Canada) and Tina Grkovic (Serbia). Libero Madyson Chitty is the top returning domestic player.