Year in and year out, the Big Ten conference has become one of the premiere volleyball conferences in collegiate volleyball. Every team is filled with talent ready to skyrocket to the next level. Following a 10-3 non-conference slate, Indiana looks to continue its upward climb in the fierce Big Ten.
As the nonconference portion of the season has come to a close, six Big Ten schools rank inside the top 25, Wisconsin and Nebraska hold the top two spots, respectively. The Hoosiers will face both squads in the first two weeks of conference play.
Indiana opens play at 8 p.m. Wednesday at home in Bloomington against Illinois. The Fighting Illini finished their nonconference schedule at an even .500, going 5-5. They are led by seventh-year head coach Chris Tamas, along with former Indiana assistant coach Krista Hendrickson.
After opening play at home, the Hoosiers will travel to the top-ranked and undefeated Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday. The Badgers head into conference play having won the last four Big Ten Championships and a National Championship in 2021. The Hoosiers will play the Badgers again on Nov. 19 in Bloomington.
After heading up north to face Wisconsin, Indiana will have a two-game homestand facing Iowa and No. 2 Nebraska. The Huskers begin conference play with the top-ranked defense in the country led by junior All-American libero Lexi Rodriguez. Rodriguez and the Huskers hold their opponents to an average of .101 hitting percentage.
The Hoosiers will face four other ranked opponents during conference play. They will play a home-and-home with both in-state rival Purdue and Ohio State. At the end of last season's conference play, the Hoosiers knocked off the then No. 5 Buckeyes, earning their first top-five road win under head coach Steve Aird. Indiana will host Minnesota before traveling to Aird’s alma mater Penn State. The Nittany Lions and Golden Gophers both began the season ranked inside the top 10, but after tough nonconference schedules, they enter conference play ranked Nos. 15 and 12, respectively.
The Hoosiers will play 10 conference games at Wilkinson Hall this season; along with the ranked opponents they will also host Michigan, Maryland and Rutgers. Indiana will play all three teams twice, once at home and once on the road in their respective arenas. Indiana will also face Northwestern and Michigan State, along with the Nittany Lions in their conference road games.
The Hoosiers were picked to finish eighth in the preseason Big Ten Coaches Poll, their highest ranking ever. Led by First Team all-Big Ten junior setter Camryn Haworth, the Hoosiers’ squad looks to extend their seven-game win streak, and that begins Wednesday when they host the Fighting Illini.