October 7, 2011; Lincoln, NE, USA; Purdue Boilermakers setter Rachel Davis (1) sets the ball in the fourth set against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at NU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE

Big Ten Volleyball: First and Second Round Preview

The 2012 Women’s Volleyball Tournament kicks off on November 29th. Even though the Illinois Fighting Illini missed the tournament, there are seven Big Ten teams playing in this year’s tournament.

Here is a look at the First and Second Rounds for each Big Ten team:

August 27, 2011; State College, PA, USA; Penn State players react after winning the 5th set against Southern California at Rec Hall. Penn State defeated Southern California 3 sets to 2. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

#1 Penn State Nittany Lions (29-2) - The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten championship this season and earned the top seed in the tournament. Since they earned a ranking going into the tournament, they will be a host region for the first two rounds. Their first round opponent will be the Binghamton Bearcats. Penn State’s kills leader is junior Ariel Scott (399) and their leading blocker is junior Katie Slay (146). If they win, they will play either Yale or Bowling Green in the second round.


#4 Nebraska Cornhuskers (23-6)
– The next highest seeded Big Ten team in this year’s tournament is Nebraska. Because of this, they will be a host region for the first two rounds as well. Their first round foe will be the Maryland-East Shore Hawks. The Cornhuskers’ leading blocker is junior Hayley Thramer with 130 blocks on the season. Also, seniors Hannah Werth (321) and Gina Mancuso (377) lead the team in kills. If they win, Nebraska will play either Kansas State or Northern Iowa in the second round.

#8 Minnesota Golden Gophers (24-7) - The last Big Ten team to be ranked coming into the tournament is Minnesota. Just like Penn State and Nebraska, the Golden Gophers will be a host team for the first two rounds. Their first round foe will be the Liberty Flames. Minnesota is lead on offense by senior Katherine Harms who leads the team in kills with 458. Their leading blocker is junior Tori Dixon who has 114 on the season. If they win, the Golden Gophers will play either Marquette or Creighton in the second round.

Ohio State (22-10) - Ohio State’s first round game will be in Lexington, Kentucky. The host team for this region is the #16 Kentucky Wildcats. OSU’s first round game will be against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Buckeyes’ kills leader is senior Mari Hole who has 512 kills this season and their leading blockers are senior Emily Danks (90) and freshman Andrea Kacsits (80). If they win, Ohio State will play either East Tennessee State or #16 Kentucky in the second round.

Purdue Boilermakers (21-10) - The Boilermakers first round game will be in Tallahassee, Florida. The host team for this region is #9 Florida State. Purdue’s first game will be against the Colorado State Rams. They are lead on offense by senior Ariel Turner who leads the team with 496 kills. Their defense is fueled by senior Anna Drewry and sophomore Kierra Jones who lead the team with 107 and 106 total blocks respectively. If they win, the Boilermakers will play either Hofstra or #9 Florida State in the second round.

Michigan Wolverines (23-11) – Michigan’s first round game will be in Louisville, Kentucky. The host team for this region is #10 Louisville. The Wolverines first game will be against the Tennessee Volunteers. Michigan is led offensively by junior Lexi Erwin who leads the Wolverines with 498 kills. Defensively, they are led by another junior, Jennifer Cross, who leads the team with 160 total blocks. If they win, Michigan will play either Belmont or #10 Louisville in the second round.

Michigan State Spartans (23-9) - The Spartans’ first round game will be in Los Angeles, California. The host team for this region is the #7 UCLA Bruins. MSU’s first game will be against the San Diego Toreros. Their kills leader is junior Lauren Wicinski who has 514 on the season. On the other side, their blocking leader is junior Alexis Mathews with 139 total blocks. If they win, Michigan State will play either Long Island or #7 UCLA.

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Check out my other writings on the Oregon Ducks blog, Autzen Zoo.

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Tags: 2012 Women's Volleyball Tournament Big Ten Nebraska Cornhuskers Penn State Nittany Lions Volleyball

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