Press Release courtesy of Penn State Athletics.
The No. 3 Penn State women’s volleyball team hits the road for their first Big Ten matches away from Rec Hall as they head to Ohio State and Maryland this weekend. The Nittany Lions will travel to Columbus, Ohio first for a Fridaynight 7 p.m. match against the Buckeyes, and then will head to College Park, Md., to take on the Terrapins at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State will enter the weekend match with 9-6 record and a 2-2 Big Ten record, most recently going 0-2 in their last weekend, falling to Michigan, 3-1, and Michigan State, 3-0. Defensively, libero Hannah Gruensfelder leads the conference with 4.87 digs per set. Offensively, the Buckeyes are 19th in the nation with 14.23 kills per set led by Luisa Schirmer, who is averaging 3.04 per set, on the outside. As a team, the Buckeyes are hitting .258, and are currently on a four-match stretch against nationally ranked opponents. OSU opened the four-match stretch with a 3-1 win over No. 13 Purdue, but then fell to No. 23 Michigan, 3-1, and lost to No. 16 Michigan State, 3-0.
SCOUTING THE TERPS
Maryland currently has a 12-4 record, but are 1-3 in Big Ten play. The Terps have played their first four conference matches on the road, falling at OSU, Michigan State, and Michigan, with their win coming at Indiana. Maryland hosted two pre-season tournaments, going 5-1 at home, including a 3-0 sweep over then-ranked No. 18 Southern California. Freshman outside hitter Erika Pritchard is leading the Big Ten and is 6th in the nation at .58. Gia Milana is leading the team with 3.21 kills per set, and the team as the whole is averaging 13.19 kills per set on .257 hitting.
>> The first RPI rankings of the 2017 season were released by the NCAA on Monday, and Penn State found itself in the No. 1 slot based on the team’s strength of schedule and their results so far this season.
>> In the week six American Volleyball Coaches poll, Penn State stayed at the No. 3 spot. Seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the most recent AVCA Coaches poll, with Penn State being the highest of them. Nebraska followed at No. 4, while Minnesota and Wisconsin came in at No. 7 and 8, respectively. Michigan State moved to No. 14, while Purdue came in at No. 18. Michigan rounded out the bunch with the No. 22 spot. Illinois and Ohio State are receiving votes.
>> Simone Lee has racked up a team-best 197 kills so far this season and is just seven kills from the elusive 1,000 kills club. She is on pace to join teammate Ali Frantti as active members of the club. Currently, Missouri State, Jacksonville State, Kansas, Fairfield, Houston Baptist and Sam Houston State are the only squads to have two active 1,000 kill hitters.
>> The first RPI rankings of the 2017 season were released by the NCAA on Monday as well, and Penn State found itself in the No. 1 slot based on the team’s strength of schedule and their results so far this season.
>> Haleigh Washington was named the Big Ten Player of the Week for the second time this season as she helped the Nittany Lions register back-to-back sweeps in Big Ten action. She averaged 3.5 kills per set out of the middle and added 1.5 blocks per set on the weekend. Her .556 hitting percentage on the weekend jumped her back into the No. 1 spot in the nation as she leads all players with a .504 hitting percentage on the year.
>> This marks the seventh time Washington has earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors, and it is the fourth time this season that Penn State has had a student-athlete earn the award. She is now one shy of joining Nicole Fawcett (2005-08) and Megan Hodge (2006-09) for the most in a career by a Penn State player.
>> Penn State women’s volleyball seniors Haleigh Washington and Simone Lee were named to a list of 30 Division I women’s volleyball candidates for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award on Tuesday evening. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character, and competition.
>> Abby Detering is one of six standouts in the NCAA this season to record a triple-double. In the Nittany Lions’ 3-1 victory over then top-ranked Stanford on Sept. 1, Detering posted 23 assists, while adding 11 kills and 10 digs.
>> Based on past opponents’ winning percentage, Penn State has played the third-toughest schedule in the nation, while Wisconsin has played the sixth-toughest schedule. Nebraska is ninth on the list and Minnesota checks in at No. 10.
RECORD AGAINST 2017 OPPONENTS
Penn State owns a 600-115 (.839) combined series record against its 2017 opponents, including a 454-66 (.873) mark in Big Ten matches since joining the conference in 1991. The Nittany Lions own a 539-104-1 (.840) mark all-time against current Big Ten opponents.
BIG TEN COACHES SELECT PENN STATE TO WIN 2017 CONFERENCE TITLE
Penn State opens the season ranked No. 1 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.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE NEWS
Peppering in the IM Building: Jen Halterman’s Walk-On Story
White’s Enthusiasm Driving Nittany Lions
Sophomore Kendall White leads Penn State women’s volleyball’s group of veterans
Inside the Numbers: NCAA Stat Update Week 6
NATIONAL CHAMP TO HEAD COACH: A Q&A WITH BUFFALO’S BLAIR BROWN LIPSITZ
Penn State will return home to take on Michigan State and Michigan on Oct. 13 and 14 respectively. Both matches will be at 7 p.m. Single-game tickets for the 2017 Penn State women’s volleyball matches are available here at http://gopsu.info/vbsinglegametickets.