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September 2014
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Illinois’ Birks named Big Ten Volleyball Player of the Week

Birks earns her sixth career Big Ten weekly honor


Champaign, Ill. – Illinois outside hitter Jocelynn Birks was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday after turning in outstanding performances against Maryland and Rutgers over the weekend to open conference play. It marks the redshirt junior’s sixth career Big Ten weekly honor, which includes four Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and a Big Ten Player of the Week during her freshman season in 2012.

Birks paced the Fighting Illini attack during the opening weekend of Big Ten play with a combined 27 kills and .404 hitting percentage as Illinois won in straight sets against Big Ten newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. In addition to averaging 4.50 kills per set for the weekend, good for second in the Big Ten, Birks recorded a double-double against Maryland by adding ten digs to her 15 kills, and served three aces against Rutgers.

The Willow Springs, Illinois, native is the third Illini to earn a weekly honor from the Big Ten this year, following Brandi Donnelly being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week last week and senior opposite hitter Liz McMahon claiming Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 1 for her performance during the season’s opening weekend.

Jocelynn Birks

Three other student-athletes received honors this week for their performance in conference openers. Penn State teammates Micha Hancock and Dominique Gonzalez took home Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Setter of Week, respectively, to lead the Nittany Lions to a sweep of No. 5 Wisconsin and a four-set victory over No. 17 Minnesota. Freshman of the Week honors went to Northwestern setter Taylor Tashima, who led the Wildcats to a 2-0 start in the Big Ten with wins over Maryland and Rutgers.

Gonzalez produced back-to-back 20-plus dig matches with 21 against Wisconsin on Wednesday and 26 digs against Minnesota on Saturday, while not committing an reception error in either match. Hancock earned her third consecutive Setter of the Week nod by leading Penn State’s offensive attack with 50 assists against Minnesota and 38 against Wisconsin, an average of 12.6 assists per set. In addition to setting her team to two top-20 wins, Hancock notched a career-high nine kills against Wisconsin and added five aces over the course of the two matches.

Taylor Tashima earned her first career Big Ten weekly honor by collecting her fourth and fifth double-doubles of the season. The freshman tallied 27 assists and 10 digs against Rutgers in her first career Big Ten match. She followed that performance up with 46 assists, 12 digs, and a career-high six kills against Maryland on Saturday night.

The 16th-ranked Fighting Illini continue Big Ten play this week with a mid-week match on Big Ten Network at Huff Hall against No. 18 Minnesota on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. The team will wrap up the week on Saturday with a match against No. 6 Wisconsin at 7 p.m.





OSU Men’s Golf runs away with Jack Nicklaus Invitational by wide margin


The tournament's namesake, Jack Nicklaus (photo courtesy Columbus Wired)

Buckeyes capture first team title since Sept. 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio  – Ohio State Men’s Golf pulled away from the field on the final day Back 9  of the Jack Nicklaus Invitational, capturing the tournament title by a whopping dozen strokes over second-place Purdue. The Buckeyes shot 7-over (859) for 54 holes to claim the 192nd tournament championship in program history and first since Sept. 23-24, 2012 (Windon Memorial Classic).


The Boilermakers pulled within three shots at one point in the final nine holes before OSU closed the door and stretched its edge to 12. Ohio State’s team victory is the first on the OSU Golf Club Scarlet Course since winning a two-round quad meet over Cleveland State, Dayton and Youngstown State on April 4, 2009.


Clark Engle and Tee-k Kelly each grabbed shares of third place as the top Buckeye performers at even par. It marks a career-best finish for both. Engle torched the course for a tournament-best 67 during the final round, matching his career low round. Kelly was in contention for medalist honors from start to finish, posting subsequent scores of 70-71-72 and ultimately finishing just two strokes off the pace.


Upperclassmen Grant Weaver (t-11th), Boo Timko (t-18th) and Logan Jones (t-22nd) all cracked the top-25 as well. Timko has racked up 22 top-25 showings in his career while Weaver owns 13 such performances.


Playing as individuals, Josh Wick, Addison Coll and Sean Busch placed t-28th, 48th and t-59th, respectively.



1st – Team 283-291-285—859 (+7)

t-3rd – Tee-k Kelly 70-71-72—213 (E)

t-3rd – Clark Engle 73-73-67—213 (E)

t-11th – Grant Weaver 70-72-75—217 (+4)

t-18th – Boo Timko 70-75-74—219 (+6)

t-22nd – Logan Jones 74-75-72—221 (+8)

t-28th – Josh Wick (individual) 72-74-76—222 (+9)

48th – Addison Coll (individual) 74-80-75—229 (+16)

t-59th – Sean Busch (individual 76-79-80—235 (+22)



Wisconsin Men’s Hockey ranked #10 and 12 to start the season

Badgers ranked in preseason for 11th consecutive season
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin men’s hockey program will open the 2014-15 season ranked No. 10 in the Preseason Poll and No. 12 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Poll.

The Badgers, who finished the 2013-14 season ranked No. 7 in the nation in both polls, garnered 497 points for their No. 10 ranking in the Poll and 159 points to rank No 12 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll. The ranking marks the 11th consecutive time the Badgers open a season ranked in the Preseason Poll, including the fifth time during that stretch ranked in the top 10. The last time UW began a season unranked was the start of the 2003-04 campaign.

UW sits as one of three Big Ten teams ranked among the top-10 schools in the Poll with No. 1 Minnesota and No. 8 Michigan also highly thought of as the season approaches.

Five teams on UW’s schedule are ranked in the Preseason Poll, while four more opponents are listed among the teams receiving votes.

In addition to top-ranked Minnesota and No. 8 Michigan, the Badgers will play host to No. 2 North Dakota (Nov. 7-8), No. 9 Ferris State (Nov. 28-29) and No. 20 Boston University (Jan. 9-10) at the Kohl Center.

UW also faces Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan Tech at home and each is receiving votes, while the Badgers open their season on Oct. 10 against Alaska, who is also receiving votes, at the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, Alaska.

Wisconsin holds its first official practice of the season on Saturday in De Pere at Cornerstone Community Center. The 1 p.m. practice concludes with the Badgers’ Red-White Scrimmage.

The Badgers welcome 11 freshmen to the team and will have 13 of their 26 players on the roster who have yet to play in a collegiate game for UW. They do return senior Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist Joel Rumpel in goal, along with double-digit goal scorer in senior forward Joseph LaBate. Both were on the Big Ten preseason Players to Watch list. Division I Preseason Poll
Rk TEAM (First-Place Votes) POINTS
1 Minnesota (36) 978
2 North Dakota (2) 874
3 Providence (2) 839
4 Boston College 831
5 Union (9) 737
6 Colgate (1) 652
7 St. Cloud State 596
8 Michigan 569
9 Ferris State 532
10 Wisconsin 497
11 Miami 491
12 Notre Dame 433
13 Minnesota State 411
14 Cornell 284
15 Quinnipiac 282
16 Northeastern 270
17 UMass Lowell 247
18 Denver 225
19 New Hampshire 97
20 Boston University 88
Others receiving votes: Minnesota-Duluth 87, Ohio State 76,
Yale 57, Mercyhurst 54, Vermont 51, Robert Morris 27,
Michigan Tech 26, Western Michigan 14, Dartmouth 13, Bowling
Green 11, Michigan State 8, Nebraska-Omaha 8, Rensselaer 5,
Alaska 4, Harvard 4, Air Force 3, Brown 3, Clarkson 2, Maine
2, Massachusetts 2, Niagara 1, St. Lawrence 1.


USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Poll
Rk TEAM (First-Place Votes) POINTS
1 Minnesota (32) 505
2 North Dakota (1) 449
3 Providence 431
4 Boston College 375
5 Colgate 315
6 St. Cloud State 272
7 Michigan 252
8 Union (1) 237
9 Miami 236
T-10 Ferris State 175
T-10 Notre Dame 175
12 Wisconsin 159
13 Minnesota State 136
14 Cornell 99
15 Denver 54
Others receiving votes: Northeastern, 51; UMass Lowell, 42;
Boston University, 34; Minnesota Duluth, 16; Yale, 14;
New Hampshire, 12; Quinnipiac, 10; Michigan Tech, 9; Mercyhurst, 6;
Michigan State, 6; Ohio State, 4; Robert Morris, 4.




Simon Pagenaud to drive Team Penske’s fourth IndyCar in 2015


Simon Pagenaud (2011 photo by David Merritt of England via wikipedia commons)

Winning Racer Will Drive Team’s Fourth Car in Verizon IndyCar Series Beginning Next Season

MOORESVILLE, NC (September 29, 2014) – Team Penske announced today that race-winning driver and perennial championship contender Simon Pagenaud will join its ranks beginning with the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The 30-year-old Pagenaud is a four-time race winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series and one of the most sought-after talents in open-wheel racing. Under the terms of a multi-year agreement with Team Penske, Pagenaud will drive the Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet beginning next season. With today’s announcement, the most successful program in the history of North American open-wheel racing will field a formidable four-car lineup moving forward.

After finishing among the top five in the championship standings each of the last three seasons, Pagenaud has established himself as one of the top drivers competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The native of Poitiers, France earned two wins, one pole, three podium finishes and eight top-five results in 2014 while finishing fifth in the title chase.

“Simon Pagenaud is a very talented, focused and determined driver,” said Roger Penske, whose team won the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series title with driver Will Power. “We know how tough he has been to compete with over the last few seasons and we are very happy to welcome him to Team Penske starting in 2015. With Simon coming on board to join Will, Helio (Castroneves) and Juan (Montoya), we feel we have four drivers very capable of winning on any given weekend and four guys who are legitimate championship contenders.”

Pagenaud joins Team Penske with a championship history. He won the Champ Car Atlantic Series open-wheel title as a rookie in 2006 and he produced four wins en route to the American Le Mans Series sports car LMP1 crown in 2010. With a diverse background that includes racing in the European Formula Renault series, Pagenaud has also excelled in sports car competition with starts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the Rolex 24 at Daytona on his resume.

“Getting a chance to race for Team Penske is almost like a dream to me,” said Pagenaud. “I have always admired the team and everything that Roger Penske has accomplished in racing. I am so excited to become a part of Team Penske and I can’t wait for the 2015 season to start.”

About Team Penske
Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Penske Racing have produced more than 400 major race wins, over 450 pole positions and 26 National Championships. The team has also earned 15 Indianapolis 500 victories in its storied history. For more information about Team Penske, please visit



Ohio State Athletics: A recap of the past week & this week’s schedule

Highlights from the past week in Ohio State Athletics

Athletes of the Week

  • J.T. Barrett, football
    • Barrett, a freshman this season, passed for a career-high 330 yards and four touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ route of in-state foe Cincinnati. With a career-high 79 rushing yards to complete his passing game, Barrett’s 409 yards of total offense in the game ranks second all-time at Ohio State.
  • Sammy Edwards, women’s soccer
    • Leading the Buckeyes in goals tallied this season (4), Edwards continued to produce offensively vs. Northwestern on Sunday. With a goal in the 22nd minute, the Buckeye freshman kick-started a three-goal team performance for the Scarlet and Gray.

Hall of Fame

  • Thirteen new members were enshrined last weekend in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. Members of the Class of 2014 include: Troy Smith, Antoine Winfield, Bob Vogel, Ralph Wolf, Boaz Ellis, Ralph Guarasci, Jeremy Wurtzman, Tami Smith, Rosalind Goodwin, Becky Kim, Tessa Bonhomme, Russ Hellickson an Nancy Darsch.
  • Former QB Troy Smith was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday night

    Former OL Bob Vogel was inducted into the Hall of Fame this past weekend

Football (3-1)

  • The football team captured its 40th consecutive win over an in-state opponent with a 50-28 victory over Cincinnati Saturday night in Ohio Stadium.
  • Barrett’s back-to-back 300-yard passing games marked the first time a Buckeye has had two-consecutive 300-yard games since Ohio State Hall of Fame inductee Troy Smith accomplished the feat during the 2005 season.
  • “We came out fast,” senior wide receiver Evan Spencer said following the game. “It was a big emphasis in the locker room coming into this game and we just put our foot on the pedal right away. It means the world to play offensively the last two games like we have. Now, it’s time for us to get on a roll.”

Men’s Golf

  • The men’s golf team concluded the Windon Memorial Classic with a second-place finish, carding a 7-over 847 total. The tournament took place at the Evanston Golf Club in Skokie, Ill.
  • Currently, the Buckeyes are hosting the Jack Nicklaus Invitational at the Ohio State University Golf Club. After one day of competition, the Scarlet and Gray contingent sit atop the leaderboard with a two-round tally of 6-over 574.

Women’s Soccer (5-6-0)

  • The women’s soccer team defeated Northwestern, 3-1, Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
  • Edwards, senior Kayla Varner and sophomore Alexis Degler all earned goals in the Buckeyes’ route of the Wildcats.
  • “Our focus today was all about us,” head coach Lori Walker said postgame. “We haven’t been doing a lot of the little things lately. One of the things I talked to our team about was getting pressure higher up in the field today and we did a much better job of that.”

Men’s Hockey

  • Four Buckeyes were tabbed as Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch, the Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday at the league’s Media Day at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
  • Sophomores Drew Brevig, Christian Frey and Nick Schilkey joined senior captain Tanner Fritz on the preseason watch list.
  • “Our focus is getting better,” head coach Steve Rohlik said at Media Day. “Our focus is trying to make the next step. I think we’ve got a great group. I think our biggest asset is our culture in our locker room. It’s fun to see the guys, they love to come to the rink, and as a coach, that gets you excited.”



  • The wrestling team is well represented in the Wrestling Report Division I preseason individual rankings. Nine Buckeyes appear on the list for their respective weight classes, including seven in the Top 10.


Women’s Golf

  • The women’s golf team finished third at the inaugural East & West Match Play Challenge. The Buckeyes topped Wisconsin, 3-2, on the final day to split a pair of matches after winning the stroke-play qualifying rounds.

Ohio State Athletics Schedule

9.29.14 – 10.5.14

Monday, Sept. 29

  • Men’s Golf – Jack Nicklaus Invitational – Columbus, Ohio

Tuesday, Sept. 30

  • Men’s Soccer vs. Louisville, 7:30 p.m. – Louisville, Ky.

Friday, Oct. 3

  • Field Hockey vs. Maryland, 3:30 p.m. – College Park, Md.
  • Women’s Ice Hockey vs. New Hampshire, 6:07 p.m. – Columbus, Ohio
  • Women’s Soccer vs. Wisconsin, 8 p.m. – Madison, Wisc.
  • Women’s Volleyball vs. Iowa, 8 p.m. – Iowa City, Iowa
  • Women’s Cross Country – Notre Dame Invitational – South Bend, Ind.

Saturday, Oct. 4

  • Football vs. Maryland, 12 p.m. – College Park, Md.
  • Rifle – Ole Miss Invitational, 12 p.m. – Oxford, Miss.
  • Softball vs. Eastern Michigan, 12:45 p.m. – Columbus, Ohio
  • Women’s Ice Hockey vs. New Hampshire, 2:07 p.m. – Columbus, Ohio
  • Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Guelph, 4:30 p.m. – Columbus, Ohio
  • Women’s Volleyball vs. Nebraska, 6 p.m. – Lincoln, Neb.
  • Men’s Soccer vs. Michigan State, 7 p.m. – Columbus, Ohio
  • Fencing – OSU Duals – Columbus, Ohio

Sunday, Oct. 5

  • Softball vs. Bowling Green, 11:45 a.m. – Columbus, Ohio
  • Field Hockey vs. Virginia, 1 p.m. – Charlottesville, Va.
  • Women’s Soccer vs. Minnesota, 2 p.m. – Minneapolis, Minn.





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