July 15, 1997

Spartans Picked to Finish Second in Conference Volleyball Race

In a preseason poll, the Big Ten volleyball coaches unanimously picked Penn State to defend its 1996 conference co-championship. The Spartans, who tied the Nittany Lions in league play with an 18-2 record last year, were picked to finish second.

The Nittany Lions received 11 possible first-place votes for 121 points, outdistancing the two-time defending champion Spartans with 109 points. Wisconsin (95 pts.), Ohio State (81) and Minnesota (77) rounded out the top five.

The Spartans could tie a Big Ten record by winning its third Big Ten title this season. Only once since league competition began in 1981 has a team won three Conference titles in consecutive years, that being Illinois from 1986-88.

Big Ten coaches also voted on a 12-member preseason All-Big Ten team with junior outside hitter Jenna Wrobel, a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection, and senior outside hitter Veronica Morales, a three-time Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection, representing MSU.

The Spartans, who were 26-7 overall last season and NCAA regional finalists, open the 1997 season August 29-30 when they host Duke, Southern California and Xavier in the Goff/MSU Volleyball Classic at Jenison Field House.

Preseason Big Ten Volleyball Poll

School (1st place votes)
1.  Penn State (11) 121
2.  Michigan State  109
3.  Wisconsin        95
4.  Ohio State       81
5.  Minnesota        77
6.  Illinois         67
7.  Michigan         60
8.  Indiana          41
9.  Purdue           35
10. Iowa             26
11. Northwestern     15

Preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball Team (coaches vote)

Player                 School         Pos.    Yr.
Vanessa Wouters       *Ohio State      OH     Sr.
Bonnie Bremner        *Penn State       S     So.
Lauren Cacciamani     *Penn State      MH     So.
Terri Zemaitis        *Penn State      MH     Sr.
Mary Coleman           Illinois        OH     Jr.
Tracey Marshall        Illinois        OH     So.
Sarah Jackson          Michigan        MB     Sr.
Veronica Morales       Michigan State  OH     Sr.
Jenna Wrobel           Michigan State  OH     Jr.
Becky Bauer            Minnesota        S     Sr.
Heather Dodaro         Wisconsin       MB     Sr.
Amy Lee                Wisconsin       OH     Sr.