Wednesday, January 19, 2022

2001 Big Ten volleyball preview

September 20, 2001
Senior outside hitter Erin Hartley practices bumping the ball during practice Wednesday at Jenison Field House. The Spartans begin their quest dor a Big Ten championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Wisconsin —

In a conference as stocked with talent as the Big Ten, it’s hard to try and pick a clear favorite. Here is The State News’ look at each conference team, where we think they’ll finish, and what to expect:

1. Wisconsin Badgers
Coach: Pete Waite (third year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Friday at Wisconsin and 8 p.m., Nov. 11 at home
2000 record: 33-4
2000 conference record: 18-2 (first)
2000 vs. Spartans: 2-0
Starters returning/lost: 3/3
Letterwinners returning/lost: 11/4
Watch out for: 2000 first team All-American senior middle blocker Sherisa Livingston’s net presence.
Outlook: The Badgers return three starters from last year’s national runner-up team, and the newcomers look poised to help the Badgers regain postseason glory.

2. Penn State Nittany Lions
Coach: Russ Rose (23rd Year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Oct. 19 at home and 7 p.m., Nov. 17 at Penn State
2000 Record: 30-6
Conference record (finish): 16-4 (third)
2000 vs. Spartans: 2-0
Starters returning/lost: 6/1
Letterwinners returning/lost: 13/3
Watch out for: Senior outside hitter Katie Schumacher and junior outside hitter Mishka Levy’s double-pronged attack.
Outlook: The favorite to win the conference has the talent to do so but only if they can stay healthy.

3. MSU Spartans
Coach: Chuck Erbe (ninth year)
2000 Record : 18-13
Conference record (finish): 10-10 (fifth)
Starters returning/lost: 3/3
Letterwinners returning/lost: 8/5
Watch out for: Senior outside hitter Erin Hartley’s hitting versatility at the net and in the back row.
Outlook: The major question for this young, athletic and talented team is, “Can the Spartans keep unforced errors down?” If it happens, the Spartans could sneak up on the teams at the top and steal the Big Ten title.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes
Coach: Jim Stone (20th year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 8 p.m., Oct. 20 at home and 7 p.m., Nov. 16 at Ohio State
2000 Record: 26-7
Conference record (finish): 14-6 (fourth)
2000 vs. Spartans: 1-1
Starters returning/lost: 4/2
Letterwinners returning/lost: 7/4
Watch out for: Senior outside hitter Anne Botica’s passing.
Outlook: The Buckeyes figure to be near the top of the conference, but like the other favorites, they’ll have to stay healthy to win the conference.

5. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Coach: Mike Herbert (sixth Year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at home and 7 p.m., Nov. 3 at Minnesota
2000 record : 30-4
Conference record (finish): 17-3 (second)
2000 vs. Spartans: 2-0
Starters returning/lost: 2/4
Letterwinners returning/lost: 8/6
Watch out for: Senior setter Lindsey Berg’s pinpoint accuracy setting.
Outlook: The Gophers were tough last year and should rebound well despite losing four starters from a No. 16-ranked team last season. Despite losing four starters, another top five Big Ten finish is very likely.

6. Michigan Wolverines
Coach: Mark Rosen (third year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Oct. 3 at Michigan and 7 p.m., Oct. 24 at home
2000 record : 19-14
Conference record (finish): 8-12 (seventh)
2000 vs. Spartans: 1-1
Starters returning/lost: 5/1
Letterwinners returning/lost: 8/5
Watch out for: Sophomore middle blocker Erin Moore’s speed.
Outlook: Another young team that happens to be experienced, the Wolverines could squeeze out of the middle of the pack with some big wins.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini
Coach: Don Hardin (sixth year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Oct. 13 at Illinois and 8 p.m., Nov. 23 at home
2000 record : 13-18
Conference record (finish): 4-16 (10th)
2000 vs. Spartans: 1-1
Starters returning/lost: 4/2
Letterwinners returning/lost: 8/5
Watch out for: An improved senior outside hitter Shadia Haddad.
Outlook: The Illini will be a better team than last year, but in this strong of a field, they’ll have to be much better to compete for a conference title.

8. Indiana Hoosiers
Coach: Katie Weismiller (ninth year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Oct. 12 at Indiana and 8 p.m., Nov. 24 at home
2000 record: 16-14
Conference record (finish): 7-13 (tied for eighth)
2000 vs. Spartans: 0-2
Starters returning/lost: 5/1
Letterwinners returning/lost: 12/3
Watch out for: Sophomore middle blocker Melissa Brewer’s consistent attack.
Outlook: Coach Weismiller has a slightly inexperienced squad that is both talented and athletic. This team will get better as the season moves on and could be right in the mix for a championship.

9.Northwestern Wildcats
Coach: Keylor Chan (second year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Saturday at Northwestern and 8 p.m., Nov. 9 at home

2000 record: 5-25
Conference record (Finish): 2-18 (11th)
2000 vs. Spartans: 0-2
Starters returning/lost: 4/2
Letterwinners returning/lost: 10/3
Watch out for: Sophomore middle blocker Erika Lange’s 6-3 frame getting in the way of attackers.
Outlook: A young team added to a young coach can sometimes equal a dangerous team, and the Wildcats proved that last spring, splitting two matches with the Spartans. They should be better than last season, but not good enough to make a lot of noise.

10. Iowa Hawkeyes
Coach: Rita Buck-Crockett (fourth year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Sept. 29 at home and 7 p.m., Nov. 2 at Iowa
2000 record : 13-15
Conference record (finish): 9-11 (sixth)
2000 vs. Spartans: 1-1
Starters returning/lost: 4/2
Letterwinners returning/lost: 8/4
Watch out for: Senior outside hitter Sara Meyermann’s attacks at the net.
Outlook: The team is in the position to surprise after being picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches Poll, but they will have to get great play from sophomore setter Renee Hill, who will be the Hawkeyes new full-time setter.

11. Purdue Boilermakers
Coach: Jeff Hulsmeyer (third year)
2001 vs. Spartans: 7 p.m., Oct. 6 at Purdue and 8 p.m., and Oct. 26 at home
2000 record: 13-19
Conference record (finish): 5-15 (ninth)
2000 vs. Spartans: 0-2
Starters returning/lost: 4/2
Letterwinners returning/lost: 11/2
Watch out for: Senior outside hitter Maegan Petersen’s offensive and defensive versatility.
Outlook: The Boilermakers seem to be on the outside looking in at the group of realistic contenders in the conference. They are talented enough to spoil a weekend for one of the conference favorites.

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