Press Release courtesy of Penn State Athletics.
The No. 3 Penn State women’s volleyball team closes out a seven-match homestand by hosting Illinois and Northwestern to close out the month of September. The Nittany Lions will take on the Fighting Illini on Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m., and will get back on the court at the same time on Saturday evening with a match against Northwestern.
Saturday’s match versus Northwestern has been pushed back half an hour to a 7:30 p.m. start to give fans more time to get across campus to Rec Hall from Beaver Stadium.
For parking at the Nittany Deck, Intercollegiate Athletics, in partnership with Transportation Services, sponsors a period of free parking for Women’s Volleyball attendees that begins 1.5 hours before the start of each match and ends approximately 1.5 hours after the match has ended. For any additional time parked before or after the match, each attendee will be responsible for the standard $1 per hour parking fee. Intercollegiate Athletics will continue to provide parking free of charge in parking lot Red-A on the back side of Rec Hall beginning one-hour prior through 2:00 a.m. No special permit is needed.
Penn State fans that have a ticket to Saturday’s football game versus Indiana can bring their tickets and get a volleyball ticket for $4.
SCOUTING THE FIGHTING ILLINI
Illinois comes into the weekend with an 11-2 overall record and is 2-0 in Big Ten play after taking down Northwestern and Indiana in consecutive 3-0 sweeps. The Fighting Illini are averaging 13.9 kills per set, on a clip of .311, which is currently the 8th highest hitting percentage. Defensively, Illinois is the third in the nation at 3.29 blocks per set, and are leading the Big Ten. Ali Bastianelli, a junior middle blocker, is a key reason as to why the Illini are such a good blocking team as he is the national leader in blocks per set at 1.90. She is also effective on offense at fourth in the nation in hitting percentage at 0.491.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Northwestern holds 10-4 record entering the weekend, but will head to Rutgers for their first match of the weekend. The Wildcats are currently 0-2 in league play after falling to then-ranked No.13 Purdue and Illinois, who is receiving votes. Northwestern is currently 11th in the nation, and lead the conference in aces per set at 1.77. The highlight of the Wildcats lineup is Symone Abbott. The outside hitter leads the conference in points per set at 4.93 while being second in kills per set at 4.37.
>> Last week in the Big 10, the top three ranked teams were knocked off by lower-ranked opponents. The weekend started with then-unranked Michigan State knocking off No. 5 Wisconsin, 3-2; 14-25, 25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 15-13, and it followed with then-No. 14 Nebraska taking down the then-ranked No. 2 Nittany Lions, in three, 26-24, 25-19, 25-20. The weekend closed out with Michigan State sweeping then-No. 1 Minnesota in three, 25-18. 25-23, 25-22, on the Gophers’ home court.
>> In the week five American Volleyball Coaches poll, Penn State rolled in tied for the No. 3 spot with fellow Big Ten member Minnesota. Wisconsin and Nebraska rounded out the Big Ten top-10 teams as they were ranked No. 7 and 8 respectively. After their brilliant weekend of play, Michigan State catapulted to No. 16 from unranked, and Purdue picks up a No. 19 ranking. Michigan was the final Big Ten team ranked at No. 23, while Illinois and Ohio State both are receiving votes.
>> Simone Lee has racked up a team-best 175 kills so far this season and is just 29 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, and Sam Houston State are the only squads to have two active 1,000 kill hitters.
>> Since 1979 under Coach Russ Rose, the Nittany Lions have had a 389-56 (.874) record during September. However, since 1995, the Lions are 231-22 for a 91.3-percent mark.
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.
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. 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.
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 the 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.
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Simone Lee is killing it — both on the court and in the classroom.
Penn State hits the road to open up the month of October as they travel to Ohio State on Friday, Oct. 6 for a 7 p.m. match, and they will head to Maryland on Oct. 7th for another 7 p.m. Big Ten road match.