Final Road Trip of Regular Season Sends Northwestern To Penn State, Ohio State Wildcats face Nittany Lions Friday at 6 p.m. CT; Buckeyes Saturday at 6 p.m. CT
Senior Brittani Gray makes her final trip to her native Ohio this weekend when the Wildcats visit the Buckeyes Saturday.
Nov. 18, 2010
No. 25 Northwestern (18-9, 8-8 Big Ten) at No. 7 Penn State (24-4, 14-3 Big Ten)
Friday, November 19 Rec Hall (University Park, Ill.) 6 p.m. CT No. 25 Northwestern (18-9, 8-8 Big Ten) at Ohio State (20-10, 8-9 Big Ten)
Saturday, November 20 St. John Arena (Columbus, Ohio) 6 p.m. CT
25th-ranked Northwestern hits the road for the final time in the regular season, heading east for a pair of important Big Ten matches. The Wildcats head to University Park, Pa. to meet up with seventh-ranked Penn State at 6 p.m. CT Friday. Northwestern then makes its yearly trip to Columbus, Ohio, facing Ohio State Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.
Scouting the Nittany Lions 2010: 24-4 overall, 14-3 Big Ten, 15-0 at home. Ranked seventh in this week's AVCA poll. Last Week: W vs. Wisconsin (3-0), W vs. Illinois (3-0), W vs. Ohio State (3-0). Head Coach: Russ Rose (George Williams, 1975). 32nd year at Penn State (1,025-163, .863). Key Players: Blair Brown (Sr., OH): 374 kills, .324 hitting pct., 198 digs, 85 total blocks; Deja McClendon (Fr., OH): 308 kills, .318 hitting pct., 183 digs, 60 total blocks; Arielle Wilson (Sr., MB): 251 kills, .425 hitting pct., 15 service aces, 109 total blocks; Fatima Balza (Sr., MB): 70 kills, .386 hitting pct., 81 total blocks; Kristin Carpenter (So., S): 983 assists, 47 kills, 192 digs, 39 total blocks; Alyssa D'Errico (Sr., LIB): 362 digs, 46 assists, 42 service aces.
Scouting the Buckeyes 2010: 20-10 overall, 8-9 Big Ten, 8-4 at home. Receiving votes in this week's AVCA poll. Last Week: L vs. Illinois (1-3), W vs. Wisconsin (3-2), L at Penn State (0-3). Head Coach: Geoff Carlston (Minnesota, 1993). Third season at Ohio State (57-40, .588), 11th season overall (250-104, .706). Key Players: Katie Dull (Sr., OH): 373 kills, .256 hitting pct., 22 service aces, 71 total blocks; Anna Szerszen (Gr., OH): 265 kills, .240 hitting pct., 17 service aces, 49 total blocks; Emily Danks (So., OH): 217 kills, .234 hitting pct., 65 service aces, 80 total blocks; Kelli Barhorst (Jr., MB): 196 kills, .323 hitting pct., 73 total blocks; Betsy Hone (Sr., S): 867 assists, 70 kills, 30 total blocks; Sarah Mignin (Jr., LIB): 370 digs, 24 service aces.
Northwestern and Penn State get together for the 48th time Friday night with the Nittany Lions holding a 39-8 edge in the all-time series, including a 15-match winning streak dating back to the 2000 season when the Wildcats upset the third-ranked Nittany Lions 3-2 in Evanston. Northwestern has won only once in University Park, a 3-1 victory in 1987. Saturday marks the 64th meeting between Northwestern and Ohio State with the Buckeyes holding a 45-18 series advantage. OSU has won the last five meetings between the two and five of the last six at St. John Arena, with NU's last victory in Columbus coming in 2007.
Northwestern Nationally Ranked For Record-Tying Eighth-Straight Week
For the eighth-straight week, Northwestern remains among the AVCA Division I Coaches Top-25 poll. The Wildcats check in at 25th in the latest installment, tying the program's single-season record for consecutive weeks among the nation's top-25 as the 1982 team was ranked in all eight polls of that season. The program record for most consecutive polls being ranked is 13, as NU was also among the nation's leaders for the first five polls of the 1983 season. Northwestern reached as high as 20th on Oct. 11, checking in at 22nd on Oct. 18th, 24th on Oct. 4, Oct. 25, Nov. 1 and Nov. 8 and 25th on Sept. 27. The Wildcats also remain among the top-20 in the NCAA RPI index, sitting 19th in this week's edition. Northwestern is one of five Big Ten teams among the top-20, joining Illinois (No. 2), Penn State (No. 4), Minnesota (No. 9) and Purdue (No. 15).
Holthus Making Her Mark As A Freshman
Freshman Stephanie Holthus has made quite an impact as a freshman for Northwestern, starting every set of the season at outside hitter. Holthus currently ranks third on the Wildcats with 269 kills, which is the most by a freshman since Lindsay Anderson's 299 and Courtnie Paulus' 281 in 2004. She enters the weekend ranked 15th all-time among the Northwestern freshman kill leaders, 12 back of Paulus for 14th, and is 31 kills shy of becoming the 11th player in program history to notch 300 kills as a freshman. The Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Oct. 11, Holthus also ranks second on the team in digs (266), fourth in service aces (17) and fifth in blocks (56) heading into the weekend.
With two weeks left to go in the regular season, a handful of team and individual records remain in jeopardy of falling. Northwestern's .239 hitting percentage currently ranks second in program history, six points shy of the record .245 set by the 1987 team. The Wildcats have committed 491 hitting errors on the season, which is threatening the program's single-season low of 613 set last year. Individually, Sabel Moffett enters the weekend hitting .357, which is eight points higher than her program-best .349 set last year. Naomi Johnson's .330 with two weeks remaining currently sits fourth all-time in program history for a single-season total. Moffett's 116 block assists and 139 total blocks are just shy of cracking the single-season top-10 list as well. Elyse Glab, who already owns the seventh and eighth-best assist performances in program history, is threatening to break into the top-10 single-season assist list for the third time.
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