With the Big Ten being the best conference for volleyball in the nation and the Badgers coincidentally being part of that, we are going to do a weekly wrap of all the important Big Ten action — along with the occasional recap of the big games across the country.
Without further ado, the Bucky’s Fifth Quarter Big Ten volleyball roundup:
- The Nebraska Huskers (6-3 overall) are on a losing streak — but we’re not talking about football here (obviously, this is a volleyball article). It’s been three matches since the Huskers last won, after losing to Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. 3-1 and getting swept by No. 5 Louisville in Lincoln, Neb.
That means the Huskers fell from No. 6 to No. 12 in the country, and Nebraska was outclassed in both games against high quality competition. The Huskers were swept for the first time on their home court by Louisville since the Badgers did that to them in 2019 (a year where the Huskers did not win a single set against UW in three matches #volleyballschool). No Huskers had more than double digit kills, and the Cardinals held the team to .046 hitting percentage. Not great, Bob dot gif!
- Ohio State stayed unbeaten after a home-and-home series against Notre Dame, with one match a straight sweep, the other a five set slugfest that based on just reading stats, was offensively challenged. OSU’s star Emily Londot did not face those issues in the first round in South Bend, hammering home 23 kills in just three sets. However, in the second meeting, both teams struggled on offense. In the two sets the Buckeyes lost, they hit .093 and .062 as the two teams had a lot of errors. But OSU keeps a 10-0 record, heading into conference play.
- The Minnesota Golden Gophers must have been amazed to start a match where their opponent didn’t have a little number next to their name. The No. 9 Gophers (5-3 overall) had a true gauntlet at the start of the season, and ate some cupcakes in sweeps against St. Thomas and Iowa State last weekend.
Their in-state “battle” against St. Thomas went 25-14, 25-8, 25-7. Star Stephanie Samedey got a much deserved rest, as she didn’t even touch the floor and the Gophers pantsed St. Thomas. A little more effort required in their sweep against Iowa State, and Samedey notched a double double with 12 kills and 11 digs.
- No. 20 Penn State (7-3 overall) got back to winning ways after an unsuccessful west coast swing with sweeps against Robert Morris and West Virginia in Morgantown.
It was much easier swinging against Robert Morris, as the Nittany Lions powered through the Colonials hitting .451. Middle blocker Allie Holland led the way in kills with 11 while PSU also had nine aces and 12 total blocks. Against the Mountaineers, it was closer save for the second set where the Nittany Lions won 25-22, 25-13, 25-20.
More importantly, it turns out Penn State has a player named Anastaiya Kudryashova who is a transfer from Rutgers by way of Novosibirsk, Russia. I now have so many questions — especially because she is studying journalism according to her bio. How do you go from a city along the Trans-Siberian railroad to playing Division 1 volleyball? Was Pitscataway less hospitable to human life than Russia? Did she like the Marvel movie Black Widow? Do Wisconsin undergrads drink a similar amount of vodka to people in Russia? How much cooler does your name look in the Cyrillic alphabet?
Anyways, Kudryashova had a season-high nine kills against WVU and is finding her feet in the Nittany Lions’ rotation. PSU has a huge clash against OSU on Sunday on Big Ten Network. So if you’d prefer to watch a great Big Ten volleyball game instead of whatever like Bengals vs. Vikings game Fox decides to show America in the gray afternoon sky, then there is that.
- Maryland is still unbeaten at 12-0! We’ll likely have more about them later in the week because that’s who Wisconsin plays. Just as everyone predicted, the three unbeaten Big Ten teams are Wisconsin, Ohio State and Maryland.
- Ok, one last note about my new favorite non-Badger volleyball player, Anastaiya Kudryashova. Her team in Russia was called “Gimnazium No. 1798.” What does 1798 mean? Is that the year this gym was founded? Is that how many gyms are in Russia? Did someone just think those numbers look cool together? The only one that might be better is Julia Orzoł’s team, which is the perfect “Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace Mistrzostwa Sportowego.”
And no, I don’t know what that it means but it is perfect.