seconThe University of Minnesota volleyball team was picked to finish in second place in the Big Ten Conference in a pre-season poll of conference coaches released today. Minnesota, which finished in second place in 1999, was picked to finish behind Penn State, the defending Big Ten and NCAA champion.
The Golden Gophers placed two members on the 2000 Pre-Season All-Big Ten Volleyball Team. Senior outside hitter Nicole Branagh, a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a 1999 AVCA Second Team All- American, was one of three players to be named unanimously to the team. Junior setter Lindsey Berg, an All-Big Ten and AVCA All-District selection in 1999, was also named to the team.
The Big Ten sent an NCAA-record eight teams to the 1999 NCAA Tournament, with all eight teams winning at least one match. Penn State and Minnesota advanced to the regional semifinals, with the Nittany Lions winning the conference's first-ever national championship. After Penn State and Minnesota, Wisconsin was picked to finish third and Michigan State was voted in the fourth position.
Penn State and Michigan State led the 13-member squad with three selections, while Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin each had two representatives. Junior outside hitter Katie Schumacher of Penn State and senior middle blocker Betsy Spicer of Illinois joined Branagh as unanimous selections on the team, which included seven members of the 1999 All-Big Ten team.
Minnesota will open its 2000 season Sept. 1 in Reno, Nev., against Kent State. The Gophers will open its home schedule with the Diet Coke Classic on Sept. 15 at the Sports Pavilion, and will commence Big Ten play Sept. 22 at home against Purdue.
2000 Big Ten Pre-Season Volleyball Poll (as voted by Conference coaches)
School Points 1. Penn State 117 2. Minnesota 109 3. Wisconsin 96 4. Michigan State 91 5. Michigan 67 6. Ohio State 65 7. Illinois 63 8. Indiana 46 9. Purdue 32 10. Iowa 24 11. Northwestern 16
2000 Pre-Season All-Big Ten Volleyball Team (as voted by Conference coaches)
Nicole Branagh, Minnesota*; Katie Schumacher, Penn State*; Betsy Spicer, Illinois*; Lindsey Berg, Minnesota; Jenny Maastricht, Wisconsin; Sherisa Livingston, Wisconsin; Mishka Levy, Penn State; Christie Landry, Michigan State; Erin Hartley, Michigan State; Jessica Sanborn, Michigan State; Amanda Rome, Penn State; Shadia Haddad, Illinois; Katie Virtue, Ohio State