In the world of NCAA women’s volleyball, there’s no conference quite like the Big Ten. Heading into the 2019 season, seven of the 14 teams appeared in the AVCA preseason top-25 poll. Five of those seven ranked in the top 10.
FloVolleyball will be your go-to spot to stream Big Ten matches this season. Click here for the schedule of matches.
*Schedule is subject to change. Every Big Ten's women's volleyball match available on BTN Plus also will be available live and on-demand on FloVolleyball.
This week, we're bringing you a quick rundown of all 14 teams in the Big Ten, so you can know what to expect as teams get the season rolling this weekend.
2018 Record: 24-10 (11-9 Big Ten)
2018 Postseason: NCAA Tournament first round
AVCA National Preseason Ranking: 15
Big Ten Preseason Ranking: 7
Michigan enters the 2019 season ranked No. 15 in the country and No. 7 in the Big Ten. With seven seniors on the roster, including four-year starting setter MacKenzi Welsh, the Wolverines have plenty of veteran leadership to go along with four new freshmen.
As everyone moves back on campus soon, we all know we can’t wait for the best time of year 〽️🏐 pic.twitter.com/tRp9VqEUqo— The Zone (@UMichZone) August 20, 2019
Graduated outside hitter Carly Skjodt contributed almost a third of Michigan’s offense last year, so sophomore Paige Jones and senior Sydney Wetterstrom will have to elevate their games to make up for her absence. Wetterstrom played mostly on the right last year, but will be returning to her more natural position this fall as a six-rotation outside. This leaves open a spot on the right, which will likely be claimed by Katarina Glavinic.
Or, with impressive depth at the middle position where returners Cori Crocker, Kiara Shannon, and Kayla Bair are joined by freshmen Jess Robinson and May Pertofsky (who could both see playing time in their first year on campus), head coach Mark Rosen could run a three-middle offense.
Regardless of the configuration Rosen goes with, Welsh, one of three captains on the Wolverines squad, says her hitters have done a good job preparing for the challenges ahead.
“This year I feel like each and every hitter has really elevated their game and it has made my job so much more fun because it’s like constant kills, no matter who I’m setting or what’s happening, we’re always getting kills and putting balls away,” Welsh said.
With the graduation of libero Jenna Lerg, however, serve receive and defense could be a question mark for the Wolverines. Junior Natalie Smith filled the libero position in the intrasquad scrimmage, and freshman Amber Beals can also provide some consistency on first-ball contact.
Watch Michigan in action this season on FloVolleyball. Upcoming matches below.
*Schedule subject to change.
Sept. 13 Michigan vs. Navy 7 PM ET