Madison, WI – The University of Wisconsin is picked to finish second in the 2001 Big Ten Conference Volleyball race according to a preseason poll of league coaches, the Big Ten Office announced today. Senior All-Americans Sherisa Livingston and Lizzy Fitzgerald were unanimous selections to the 12-member preseason All-Big Ten team.
Despite winning the 2000 Big Ten title and finishing second in the NCAA Championship, the Badgers are picked to finish second in the 2001 standings behind Penn State. Wisconsin won its third conference title last year with an 18-2 conference mark. The Badgers finished the 2000 season with a 33-4 record after taking Nebraska to five games in the national title match.
For the fifth consecutive year, Penn State stands atop the Big Ten Preseason Coaches Poll. The Lions completed the 2000 Big Ten campaign with a 16-4 record and staged a strong post-season run in the NCAA Championship to finish with a 30-6 overall record. The Nittany Lions return a total of 14 letterwinners and five starters.
Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan State round out the top half of the preseason standings.
Reigning Big Ten Co-Player of the Year Livingston makes her third-consecutive appearance on the preseason squad. A senior middle blocker, Livingston was an AVCA All-America First Team honoree last year. She is the Big Ten’s top returnee in kills, with a 5.19 kills-per-game average last year.
Fitzgerald is a unanimous selection to her first-ever All-Big Ten Preseason Team. She averaged 13.76 assists per game last season en route to Wisconsin’s Big Ten title. She was named an AVCA National Player of the Week in addition to being tabbed for the All-Big Ten Team and the AVCA All-America Second Team.
The Badgers begin their 2001 season on Aug. 24-25 at the seventh annual State Farm Volleyball Classic, presented by NACWAA, in Stockton, Calif. The tournament is the only preseason volleyball competition allowed by the NCAA with participating teams playing one week prior to the official season opening. Defending NCAA champion Nebraska will take on Hawai'i in the first match on Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. PDT while Wisconsin will place Pacific in the second match at 7 p.m. PDT. The consolation match will be held Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. PDT with the championship match at 7 p.m. PDT. All four matches are scheduled to air on ESPN2.
2001 Preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball Team
(as voted by the Coaches)
Name School Year Position
Sara Meyermann Iowa SR Outside Hitter
Erin Hartley (3)* Michigan State SR Outside Hitter
Lindsey Berg (2) Minnesota SR Setter
Stephanie Hagen Minnesota SR Middle Blocker
Erika Lange Northwestern SO Middle Blocker
Anne Botica Ohio State SR Outside Hitter
Suzie Stiling Ohio State JR Middle Blocker
Katie Virtue (2) Ohio State JR Setter
Mishka Levy (2)* Penn State JR Outside Hitter
Katie Schumacher (2)* Penn State SR Outside Hitter
Lizzy Fitzgerald* Wisconsin SR Setter
Sherisa Livingston (3)* Wisconsin SR Middle Hitter
2001 Big Ten Preseason Volleyball Coaches Poll
Penn State 115
Ohio State 97