By Laura Finley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Relief could describe the Penn State women's volleyball team this week as the team returns home for the Hampton Inn Classic this Friday, Sept. 16-17.
The team is coming off of two tough losses at last weeks Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic in Palo Alto, CA. The players are looking forward to playing in front of their home crowd, but still know there is a lot at stake.
Practice this week has been critical as the players work hard to find
their team balance. Senior outside hitter Katie Kabbes said this balance comes
down to limiting errors and communicating on the court.
"We know what we need to work on and coach has highlighted that for us," said Kabbes. "We're working on communication and getting the kinks out of a young team that hasn't played together much. The focus is on getting reps for our setter and just talking more in our drills. Talking is critical."
After travelling for two weeks, the women's volleyball team returns to Rec Hall with their work cut out for them. The Nittany Lions will play matches against Long Island University, Rutgers and Florida Golf Coast University. All three teams are coming off of recent wins.
"We have some of the best fans in the volleyball world," said Kabbes. "This is a chance for us to redeem ourselves at home and play our game and get ourselves together for our first Big Ten conference game against Nebraska next week."
Head coach Russ Rose has reiterated to his players that cutting down on errors this weekend is key. The team finished with a .179 hitting percentage last weekend at the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic, accumulating a total of 59 errors in two matches.
"Coach tells us if we want to be a good team we have to keep our eyes open and we have to work on limiting our errors," said Kabbes. "You can't win when you're averaging seven errors a game against a competitive team. That's just never going to happen."
The Nittany Lions will play their first match this weekend at 7 p.m. against Long Island on Friday, Sept. 16. The next match will follow on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. against Rutgers with a match against Florida Gulf Coast later that evening at 7 p.m.
Last Week: The Penn
State Women's Volleyball team lost 3-1 to Stanford and 3-2 to Texas at the Nike
Big Four Volleyball Classic. Sophomore outside hitter Deja McClendon continued
to lead the team in kills, reaching a career milestone of 500 kills.
- This Week: Penn State hosts the Hampton Inn Classic on September 16-17. The Lions look to improve their record this weekend as they get ready for their first Big Ten Conference game against Nebraska next week.
Vs. Long Island University has won its past two games, carrying it to a 4-7 mark overall this season with a 0-3 record in away games. Sophomore outside hitter Hanna Gibeau and freshman right side hitter Annika Foit will be players to watch during the match on Friday as both lead their team on offense. Penn State is 4-0 against Long Island with their last match in 2008.
Vs. Rutgers recently won their last game against Lehigh, 3-0, allowing them to maintain a 6-7 record this season. Junior setter Stephanie Zielinski leads the team in assists with senior middle blocker Hannah Curtis leading the offense in kills. The Scarlet Knights are also 0-3 in away games. Penn State has won the past 15 matches against Rutgers and hopes to extend this record on Saturday.
Vs. Florida Gulf Coast University claimed a much needed win over Radford this past weekend with the Eagles now 3-6 overall. Freshman setter Gigi Meyer leads the team in assists on offense while senior libero Holly Youngquist has been a team leader on defense. This will mark the first meeting Penn State has had against FGCU.