Wittman earns weekly Big Ten honor; team drops in poll

by Charlie Armitz

Gophers volleyball sophomore Ashley Wittman was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week following her 52-kill, 31-dig performance in Minnesota’s weekend split against No. 6 Penn State and No. 22 Ohio State.

The outside hitter set a career-high with 31 kills in the Gophers’ 3-2 loss to the Nittany Lions on Friday, and had 12 kills in the fourth set. Her hitting percentage of .393 was her highest in a Big Ten match since Sept. 25, 2010.

She added 21 kills in Minnesota’s 3-1 win over the Buckeyes on Saturday.

Wittman previously won the award Sept. 19, when she led the Gophers to a sweep at the Marquette Challenge with 5.62 kills per set and a .422 weekend hitting percentage.

Ariel Turner of Purdue was the other Co-Big Ten Player of the Week. Turner averaged 5.0 kills and 4.0 digs per set in the Boilermakers’ upset of No. 5 Illinois and defeat of Northwestern.

Gophers drop to No. 16 in AVCA Poll

Despite splitting against two ranked teams, the Gophers fell from No. 15 to No. 16 in Monday’s American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.

Tennessee moved ahead of Minnesota after sweeping Louisville and Mississippi State. The Lady Vols have won seven consecutive matches without playing a fifth set.

Penn State dropped three spots to No. 9. The Nittany Lions lost at unranked Wisconsin in five sets two days after defeating Minnesota 3-2.

Ohio State remained at No. 22.

Also ranked in the Big Ten are Nebraska (2), Illinois (7), Purdue (10) and Michigan (24).