The fifth ranked Penn State women’s volleyball team heads to College Station, Texas for two matches this weekend as they will take on No. 1 Stanford and host Texas A&M in the Texas A&M Invite at Reed Arena on the Aggies’ campus.
The Nittany Lions will take on Stanford on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and will follow it up with a 5:30 p.m. match against the Aggies on Saturday, Sept. 2.
- This weekend will be the first of two meetings with the Cardinal in eight days. Penn State holds a 10-9 advantage over Stanford but will be looking to take revenge after a 3-0 sweep in last season’s match with the Cardinal.
- When the Lions take on Texas A&M, it will be the first time the two squads have matched up since 9/21/1990. Penn State holds a 3-0 series advantage over the Aggies.
- Last weekend, Ali Frantti became the 26th member of the 1,000-kill club after collecting 11 kills on the weekend.
- Since 1979 under Coach Russ Rose, the Nittany Lions have had a 381-55 (.874) record during September. However, since 1995, the Lions are 223-21 for a 91.4-percent mark.
- Penn State moved up one spot in the Week One poll with a ranking of No. 5 from the AVCA. Seven Big Ten teams remain ranked in the Aug. 28 poll: Minnesota (2), Wisconsin (6), Nebraska (12), Michigan (19), Ohio State (20), Purdue (21), and Michigan State (23).
- All six starters from the 2016 season and a total of 17 letterwinners return to the court for Penn State. The Nittany Lions also welcome four newcomers.
- The Big Ten coaches selected the Nittany Lions as the preseason favorite for 2017, marking the fourth time in the past five seasons and the 11th in the last 13 that Penn State has been tabbed as the preseason favorite.
- Three Penn State’s seniors, Ali Frantti, Simone Leeand Haleigh Washington, were named to the preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball team. Minnesota and Penn State had three honorees each.
- A 12-day tour of Brazil, Penn State volleyball’s fifth-ever foreign tour, was the highlight of Penn State’s 2017 spring. The Nittany Lions traveled to Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro among other communities and visited iconic locations, including Paulista Avenue, Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain. Penn State played at the Brazilian Olympic volleyball training site against top-tier competition and enjoyed the intercultural exchange.
- The Nittany Lions’ 15-match win streak in 2016 (Sept. 9-Oct. 22) was the second longest in the country during the span, topped only by No. 5 San Diego (16 straight).
- Of its 24 victories in 2016, Penn State earned 19 (79%) by way of a 3-0 sweep.
- Penn State saw four members of its team land postseason Big Ten honors, with Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington both earning unanimous All-Big Ten honors, while Tori Gorrell and Kendall Whitemade the All-Freshmen Team.
- Haleigh Washington added the 18th CoSIDA Academic All-America honor (third team, 2016) to Penn State’s list of accolades. She is the 12th Nittany Lion to be recognized nationally through the program for academic achievement. Washington earned second-team honors in 2015.
- Outside hitter Simone Lee claimed several spots on Penn State’s 25-point rally scoring single-season charts for 2016. Lee ranked third on the list for kills (503), kills per set (4.16) and tops the list with 1,245 attacks. Defensive specialist Kendall White is now number one in digs per set (4.13) and second with her 2016 digs total of 500. Middle blocker Haleigh Washington narrowly missed the top-five for hitting percentage (.430).
FRANTTI JOINS 1,000 KILL CLUB
Senior Ali Frantti put down 11 kills on the opening weekend of action to become the 26th Nittany Lion with 1,000 career kills. Frantti is the first Penn State volleyball player to join the 1,000-kill ranks since Megan Courtney (2012-15). Frantti needs 17 kills to move into the Nittany Lion top-25 list for career kills.
LONG TIME NO SEE
It’s been a minute or two since the Nittany Lions have played two of the nonconference opponents on the 2017 schedule. Penn State and Wake Forest met only once previously, in 1978. Penn State and Texas A&M have met three times in program history, last in 1990.
Penn State’s nonconference slate is highlighted by back-to-back weekend meetings with the reigning national champion Stanford Cardinal. The two teams are the only two programs to have reached every NCAA Tournament. Both have a NCAA-record seven national titles.
AGAINST NO. 1’s
Penn State went 1-2 against No. 1’s in 2016. Penn State bested the top team in the nation when they took down Minnesota, 3-2 (29-27, 21-25, 23-25, 25-14, 15-10) on Oct. 5, 2016 in the Rec. The two L’s came against Nebraska on No. 4, 2016, and Nov. 16, 2016.
AVCA POLL: RELEASE #2
Penn State moved up to No. 5 team in the nation with the AVCA Week One Poll released Aug. 28.
RECORD AGAINST 2017 OPPONENTS
Penn State owns a 600-115 (.839) combined series record against its 2017 opponents, including a 454-67 (.873) mark in Big Ten matches since joining the conference in 1991. The Nittany Lions own a 539-104 (.840) mark all-time against current Big Ten opponents.
(ALMOST) THE LAST ONE HOME
Penn State will open the home portion of its 2017 schedule on Sept. 15 vs. Yale on the first day of the Penn State Classic. The mid-September date is the latest home match for the Nittany Lions since Sept. 16, 2005, when they played their first match in Rec Hall after three-straight weekends on the road.
Of the Big Ten opponents, only Northwestern (Sept. 23) will have a home opener later than Penn State’s. With upcoming renovations at Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern is playing the 2017 match in Beardsley Gym, but will at least play in the Chicagoland area in DePaul’s tournamentSept. 8-9.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Including a 16-2 mark in 2016, Penn State owns a 611-38 (.942) all-time record at home in Rec Hall. Penn State is 269-22 all-time against current Big Ten opponents at Rec Hall. Only the Buckeyes have defeated the Nittany Lions on their home court more than three times in program history, having topped PSU five times. Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan State and Nebraska are the only four teams to beat PSU at home more than once.
BIG TEN COACHES SELECT PENN STATE TO WIN 2017 CONFERENCE TITLE
Penn State opens the season ranked No. 4 in the Big Ten Preseason Poll, released by the conference early this week. The Big Ten Preseason poll is selected by votes from all 14 conference head coaches.
PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN NITTANY LIONS
Seniors Ali Frantti, Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington have been named to the 2017 Preseason Big Ten Volleyball Team. It’s the third time Frantti and Washington have earned the preseason honors and first year for Lee to be included on the list.
With a 3-0 win over Michigan State on Sept. 30, 2016, Russ Rose became the first active Division I volleyball coach to reach the 1,200-win mark. Rose holds the title of winningest coach in Division I, tallying a 1,213-196 record to date. Following the retirement of Hawaii’s Dave Shoji, Rose is the only active coach with 1,200 or more wins. Along with Shoji and former UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski, the three are the only DI coaches in NCAA women’s volleyball coaching history to total 1,100 or more victories.
In the final year of the four-year event, the Nittany Lions will travel to Champaign, Ill., for the Nike Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. Penn State meets Colorado on Friday, Sept. 8 at 5:30 p.m., and Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. The Nittany Lions have played Stanford every year of the Challenge and Colorado for the third consecutive year. Penn State has a 3-3 mark in the competition overall.
Press Release courtesy of Penn State Athletics.
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