I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
It's August and that means the return of my favorite fall sport. That's right, volleyball. While I haven't quite gotten to my season preview (should be one for volleyball and the soccers coming if next week goes as planned), stories are already hitting the news wire.
Today, the Big Ten released the Preseason Conference Poll and Preseason All Big Ten teams. Michigan, coming off a 27-10 regular season and #9 final national ranking, has been picked to finish 5th in the Big Ten (pdf) behind perennial favorite Penn State, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio State. This is pretty much on par with the final standings last year, where Michigan finished tied with Ohio State in 4th place.
Coach Rosen via MGoBlue:
"Preseason polls do not mean much," 12th-year head coach Mark Rosen said. "The conference is good enough right now that one through 11 is up for grabs. I really think that the Big Ten is the deepest it has ever been this year. We have a lot of work to do to live up to that finish, but I think that our team is up for it."
Along with the standings, Michigan also had two players named to the Preseason All Big Ten Team. Senior setter Lexi Zimmerman makes her 3rd consecutive Preseason All Big Ten Team, this time as a unanimous pick.
Joining Zimmerman on the Preseason All Big Ten Team is junior left side hitter Alex Hunt. Hunt makes her first appearance on the Preseason Team, and looks to be Michigan's biggest returning weapon after the graduation of Juliana Paz and Veronica Rood.
(Photos via MGoBlue)
It is good:
The Daily ran an entry from Lexi Zimmerman (senior setter) and Courtney Fletcher (junior middle) today on the divide between Michigan students and Michigan athletes. An exerpt of the introduction:
Everyone knows the two sides of the issue: “Athletes are only here because they play a sport,” and “non-athletes sit around and do nothing all day." But both arguments have an element of truth. Some athletes were greatly helped by their athletic ability when applying to Michigan, and, equally, there are some non-athletes who have all day to do homework yet still fail to turn it in on time. While both sides have legitimate arguments for their cause, the real issue is the lack of respectful dialogue between the two schools of thought. Here is our attempt to contribute to that dialogue.
The article itself was kind of meh, explaining who they are and lamenting the difficulties of juggling schedules. It left me wondering more what inspired them to write the article in the first place.
MGoBlue announced the release of the 2010 volleyball schedule today and while it's a bit disappointing compared to last season, this schedule may set up well for Michigan to make a run to return the the volleyball version of the Elite 8.
|8/27||Loyola (MD)||Toledo, OH|
Oregon State Invitational
|9/4||Florida Gulf Coast||Corvallis, OR|
|9/4||Oregon State||Corvallis, OR|
|9/10||Youngstown State||Cliff Keen Arena|
|9/11||Chicago State||Cliff Keen Arena|
|9/11||Miami (OH)||Cliff Keen Arena|
Arizona State Invitational
|9/18||@Arizona State||Phoenix, AZ|
Big Ten Season
|9/24||Iowa||Cliff Keen Arena|
|9/25||Minnesota||Cliff Keen Arena|
|10/1||@Ohio State||Columbus, OH|
|10/2||@Penn State||State College, PA|
|10/8||Wisconsin||Cliff Keen Arena|
|10/9||Illinois||Cliff Keen Arena|
|10/13||Michigan State||Cliff Keen Arena|
|10/15||Northwestern||Cliff Keen Arena|
|10/23||@Purdue||West Lafayette, IN|
|11/5||Penn State||Cliff Keen Arena|
|11/6||Ohio State||Cliff Keen Arena|
|11/13||@Iowa||Iowa City, IA|
|11/19||Purdue||Cliff Keen Arena|
|11/20||Indiana||Cliff Keen Arena|
|11/24||@Michigan State||East Lansing, MI|
Unfortunately, we weren't picked for the AVCA Invitational in Omaha, but we did pick up two quality tournaments in PAC-10 country. Michigan will face only one tournament team from 2009 in the non-conference, that being Binghamton. So compared to last season's schedule is quite a bit weaker.
The Oregon State trip is a return for last year's game, a 0-3 Michigan loss in Ann Arbor, and should be the marquee game of the non-conference. OSU does lose their best player in Rachel Rourke, but they do return a lot of players that should see them competing for a slot in the top of the PAC-10.
In conference season, Penn State and Ohio State remained paired on our schedule, with Michigan headed to State College and Columbus early in the season and getting the two at home early in the 2nd round of games. Michigan starts out the season with a home heavy schedule, which just means they have to end the season with a lot of tough road games.
Michigan should be poised for a very high winning percentage as it returns Lexi Zimmerman for her 4th year as well as junior defensive specialist/libero Sloan Donhoff, junior middle Karlee Bruck, leading kill returner, junior left side Alex Hunt (pictured right from MGoBlue), and junior middle Courtney Fletcher. Maybe this year will be the one where Penn State finally gets knocked off by Michigan.
PSU wins their 3rd straight championship. Congrats to PSU. Texas players will cry tears of unfathomable sadness.
I didn't see this posted or mentioned anywhere else (did a quick search). Anyway, my brother informed on Friday that Juliana did one of those Big Ten commercials. I thought that was pretty cool, especially considering she came to A2 from Brazil and had so much success. Oh, and the fact that she's super hot. Yeah.