Big Ten Takeaways: Carly Skjodt Leads Michigan On Three-Match Win Streak

USA Today Sports Carly Skjodt Michigan 2017

With less than a week left in the Big Ten women’s volleyball regular season, Penn State and Nebraska remain tied for the No. 1 spot in the conference with identical 17-1 league records. But last week there were plenty of upsets and movement in the lower ranks. 

Here are the top takeaways from last week’s Big Ten action.

1. Michigan is on a serious roll. 

When Michigan played Illinois for the first time this season, the Fighting Illini snuck away with a five-set victory, winning 17-15 in the fifth. In the second go-round on November 11, however, Michigan won in five, behind 18 kills from outside hitter Carly Skjodt and six blocks from Claire Kieffer-Wright. The victory marked a major rebound for the Wolverines, who just a night before lost to Northwestern, which is 4-14 in conference, ranked third from the bottom in the Big Ten standings.

Michigan continued to run with its momentum, sweeping Michigan State and pulling off a 3-1 upset victory over Purdue over the weekend. The Wolverines improved to 9-9 in the Big Ten and Skjodt was named Big Ten Player of the Week. The pair of victories marked Michigan’s first back-to-back victories over top-25 opponents since 2015.

2. Ninth Freshman of the Week honor for Dana Rettke.

On Monday, the Big Ten named Wisconsin middle blocker Dana Rettke its freshman of the week for the ninth time this season. Until this season, the most times a single player was named freshman of the week by the Big Ten was six (Minnesota setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson in 2015).

In the Badgers’ sweep of Northwestern on Sunday, Rettke posted her first career double-double with 13 kills and a career-high 10 blocks. She led Wisconsin in kills against Northwestern and against Illinois on Friday night. Between the two matches, she maintained a .560 hitting percentage. 

3. Illinois gets its breakthrough victory.

Illinois has played a lot of the best teams in the Big Ten very tough so far this season. The Fighting Illini took sets off of Wisconsin and Nebraska, pushed Minnesota to five, and beat Michigan the first time they played them this season. 

But despite those admirable performances, the Illinois squad, led by first-year head coach Chris Tamas, had yet to secure a signature win over a top conference team. That is until Saturday evening, when the Illini took out Minnesota in four sets. 

The win was Illinois’ first over Minnesota in three years. Junior setter Jordyn Poulter not only dished out 50 assists to lead the Illini to a .333 team hitting percentage, but she also had nine kills with no errors on 12 attempts to hit .750, 17 digs, and a match-high five blocks. Senior libero Brandi Donnelly scored her first-ever double-double with a career-high 32 digs and 10 assists. Jacqueline Quade led the match with 21 kills.

This week, watch 11 Big Ten women’s volleyball matches LIVE right here on FloVolleyball.

DateVisiting TeamHome TeamSiteTime (ET)Live Stream
11/22Ohio StateMarylandCollege Park, MD7:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/22NebraskaNorthwesternEvanston, IL8:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/22MichiganPurdueWest Lafayette, IN7:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/24MichiganIndianaBloomington, IN6:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/24Michigan StatePurdueWest Lafayette, IN7:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/24NorthwesternMarylandCollege Park, MD7:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/24Penn StateWisconsinMadison, WI8:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/24RutgersMinnesotaMinneapolis, MN8:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/25Michigan StateIndianaWest Lafayette, IN7:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/25IllinoisOhio StateColumbus, OH7:00 PMWATCH LIVE
11/25RutgersWisconsinMadison, WI8:00 PMWATCH LIVE

Raegan Steiner Is The Perfect Ambassador For Montana Volleyball

Courtesy Chantelle Steiner Raegan Steiner

Yes, they play volleyball in Montana.

No, they don’t ride horses to volleyball practice.

In fact, Raegan Steiner would like you to know that high school volleyball is very much alive and kicking in a state better known for rodeo, skiing and — until recently — basketball. Steiner should know: the 6-foot-0 opposite from Billings Senior High is the first Montanan ever selected to the AVCA Under Armor High School All-American team.

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Raegan Steiner

Courtesy Chantelle Steiner Raegan Steiner

Becoming the first Under Armour High School All-American from the state of Montana is the perfect way to conclude Raegan Steiner’s prep volleyball career. 

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Emma Schriner

Jamestown Volleyball | Twitter Emma Schriner

Tennessee-bound outside hitter Emma Schriner is as physical as they come. Standing 6-foot-3 and touching over 10 feet, Schriner was one of only two starters returning for her Jamestown High School team this fall. 

Last Four Teams Standing Book Their Tickets To Kansas City

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On Saturday night, the eight remaining teams in the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball tournament faced off to determine which four would advance to the Final Four in Kansas City next week. 

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Adanna Rollins

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Adanna Rollins led Hebron High School to the 6A Texas state championship last year as a junior and was named the MVP of the tournament. This fall, Hebron, missing graduated setter and reigning Texas Gatorade Player of the Year Kylee McLaughlin, wasn’t expected to repeat, but with some inspired play from Rollins, they did just that.

Regional Hosts Survive Sweet 16 Tests

Matt Pendleton/UAA Communications Rhamat Alhassan

The regional semifinal rounds of the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball tournament wrapped up last night, leaving only eight teams remaining in the hunt for the championship. 

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Ella May Powell

Courtesy AVCA Ella May Powell.jpg

The list of colleges Ella May Powell considered before making her commitment to Washington features some of the most decorated women’s volleyball programs in NCAA history: Stanford, UCLA, Florida, and Nebraska.

This Week's College Commits: 12/8/17

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A Texas high school state champion from the class of 2020 made her verbal commitment to Florida this week, Florida State added a 2021 libero from Walton High School in Georgia, and the beach programs of Missouri State and TCU celebrated the addition of talent to their 2019 teams.

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Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Jonni Parker

Courtesy AVCA Jonni Parker.JPG

Miami East senior Jonni Parker led the 2017 Viking squad with 449 kills and 315 assists, but perhaps the most impressive line item on her stats sheet is the 153 aces; that mark ranks her fifth in state history for aces in a single season, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association website.

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Ade’ Owokoniran

Courtesy Triangle Volleyball Club IMG_0251.JPG

To get an idea of what Ade’ Owokoniran’s contributions at the collegiate level might be like when she makes her debut at Duke next fall, think of Danielle Cuttino of Purdue. Like Cuttino, Owokoniran is a middle blocker with the skill and athleticism to play on the outside, while putting on a display of explosive power when in the middle.