Recently in Women's Volleyball Category

VIDEO: Nike Big Four Preview with Asst. Coach Steve Aird

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1-ranked Nittany Lion women's volleyball team (2-0) travels to Texas this weekend for a pair of matches at the Nike Big Four Classic.

The Nittany Lions are slated to meet sixth-ranked and defending national champion Texas on its home floor Saturday at 2 p.m. (ET).  Penn State then meets No. 8 Florida at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday.  GoPSUsports.com previewed the weekend with assistant coach Steve Aird.  Take a look.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Women's Volleyball Opens Strong in Penn State Invitational

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By Chelsea Howard, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coming off of a trip to the final four last season and losing only two seniors, No. 2 women's volleyball team brought everything they had to Rec Hall as they opened the 2013 season during the Penn State Invitational in a three-match series.

9183855.jpegThe Nittany Lions started the weekend with an exhibition match against Dabrowa, a polish professional team, winning 3-0 on Friday night. With the stands packed for opening night, the fans were eager to cheer on the players and help them win their first set 28-26, after trailing early. The second set was won 25-21 and the third set finished 25-20.

Penn State returned to Rec Hall on Saturday morning to officially open the season with a non-conference match against Syracuse.

This contest marked the seventh matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Orange. Penn State continued their undefeated record between the two teams winning 3-0. Despite playing back-to-back matches, the players didn't let fatigue stop their energy.

"It was a match that had all the trappings that we might not come out ready to play, but I thought we played well," head coach Russ Rose said. "We controlled the ball in most situations. I thought Aiyana (Whitney) played well and I thought Katie (Slay) was exceptional yesterday and she played as I would expect her to play again this morning,"

Whitney stepped up and made six kills to help the Nittany Lions as she played for the first time coming off of a redshirt season in 2012. Joining Whitney in making their first appearances in a collegiate match, Rose gave freshmen Laura Broerman, Taylor Krause, and Carley Muller the opportunity to play.

"I'm sure it's really exciting for them. I'm sensitive to the fact that they come to every practice and they're behind really good players," Rose said. "Their hope is to become a really good player. We gave them a taste so they feel a little bit better about it. Both Taylor and Laura came in and made digs on balls that were hit to them. It's not charity - it's college athletics."

With the help from Slay and Maggie Harding, who both have three years of experience behind them, the freshmen are making the transition into playing college volleyball and learning how to handle the pressure of competing in front of a large crowd.

"Katie really goes out of her way to work in that area. Her and Maggie take a lot of pride in certain things. They're not asked to do those things, but they do it because they know it's the right thing to do," Rose said.

At the same time Slay and Harding are seeing their preseason practices and opening games for the last time as seniors, the freshmen are experiencing the grueling practices and the true Rec Hall atmosphere for the first time. Both Slay and Harding have been in the shoes of the freshmen and know what it takes to help ease the adjustment.

"It's important to make them feel welcomed and that they know they have a good security blanket in their teammates," Slay said. "Practice is tough during preseason, but we let them know that they have us to lean on and a good support system to help."

After defeating Syracuse, the Nittany Lions immediately shifted focus towards a matchup against No. 19 Louisville on Saturday evening. With sisters Deja and Maya McClendon facing off against each other, Penn State continued its strong showing in the final match of the Penn State Invitational, winning three-straight sets (25-15, 25-16, and 25-13).

"That was a good match against a very competitive opponent," Rose said. "It's a good win against a competitive team that's at the top of their conference and ranked in the top 20. They'll be able to beat people because of how hard they play," Rose said.

Looking back over the weekend, Rose was pleased with the competitiveness the Lions displayed against each team. They made adjustments to how they played the game based on how the opposing team was serving.

"We really had to compete against the Polish team," Rose said. "(Against Louisville) we had to play a different way to be successful. With the Polish team, we could compete with them at the net. With Louisville, this was a match where we needed to do really well in the back row. To out dig Louisville by 15 balls is a good performance for us."

Up next, the Lions will play in the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic where the Nittany Lions will take on No. 1 Texas followed by No. 9 Florida in Austin, Texas.

"Next week we go play Texas at Texas," Rose said. "They don't lose often at home, but we look forward to getting out there and doing the best we can." 

Nittany Lions Set to Open 2013 Season

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By Sam DelRosso, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The offseason is over, and the Penn State women's volleyball team is ready to take on the 2013 season.

8474803.jpegThe No. 2-ranked Nittany Lions will kick off the 2013 season against Dabrowa, a Polish professional team, in an exhibition match on Friday.

After traveling to Italy in May, senior Deja McClendon and the Nittany Lions got a taste of international professional play this summer and said that it was a challenging experience.

"I thought it was a lot of fun playing new competition where we had to play smarter, but for me I think it's more about the season and playing as well as I can instead of worrying about whatever else is out there," McClendon said.

The regular season kicks off with two home matches on Saturday against Syracuse at 11 a.m. and No. 19 Louisville at 7 p.m.

"We'll be moving pieces around- even though it might be some of the same players, they will be playing different positions," head coach Russ Rose said regarding this season's lineup at Fall Sports Media Day earlier this week.

McClendon told the media that the Nittany Lions worked throughout preseason on the importance of staying focused for the duration of matches.

"We have been playing with each other a little bit longer and we're more familiar with each other, but we need to work on pushing each other a little harder and push each other to do well the whole game," said McClendon.

It will be a big weekend for the McClendon family, with sisters Deja and Maya playing against each other on Saturday. Maya is a freshman outside hitter for the Louisville Cardinals.

"It will be her first collegiate match and I'm kind of nervous for her, but I think my grandparents are going to have the toughest time not knowing who to cheer for or cry for," McClendon said.

As the Nittany Lions prep for the opener, Coach Rose said that he is going to be looking for good energy, focus and the best combination of players on the floor.

"The goal of this season is to a have a good team that progresses and is playing its best as you head into November and into the postseason," Rose said. "Our goal is to get better and not to have our best game just being the opening night."

VIDEO: Women's Volleyball Season Preview Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 2-ranked Nittany Lion women's volleyball squad opens the 2013 season on Saturday with a pair of regular season matches inside Rec Hall.

Penn State meets Dabrowa (Poland) in an exhibition match on Friday (7 p.m.) before hosting Syracuse (11 a.m.) and No. 19 Louisville (7 p.m.) on Saturday.  With virtually the entire lineup back from the 2012 Big Ten champion squad, the Lions enter 2013 with high expectations.

Check out a series of preview interviews to get ready for the 2013 season.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Women's Volleyball Preseason Practice Update - Aug. 23

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 2-ranked Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will open its 2013 season with an exhibition match against a Polish squad on Aug. 30 before officially kicking off the regular season against Syracuse and Louisville on Aug. 31 inside Rec Hall.

Preseason practice is now two weeks old for the Lions, who practiced inside the newly air conditioned main gym of Rec Hall for the first time on Friday morning.  GoPSUsports.com caught up with senior Katie Slay and sophomore Megan Courtney for a look into how preseason is going.

Stay tuned next week for a complete set of video preview interviews to get ready for the 2013 season.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Meet the Women's Volleyball Freshmen - Laura Broerman

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will intensify its preparations for the 2013 season when practice begins in early August.

Four newcomers joined the roster since the Lions last played a match.  GoPSUsports.com kicks off a series of interviews with the freshmen getting set to kick off their first season in Penn State blue and white.

Today, we focus on 5-4 defensive specialist Laura Broerman.  The Colorado Springs, Colo., native comes to Penn State after four years of scholastic play at St. Mary's High School.  A team captain, Broerman earned 10 varsity letters during her time at St. Mary's.  Broerman plans to study biology at Penn State.  Meet Laura Broerman.



VIDEO: Meet Kelly Robertson

VIDEO: Meet Carley Muller

VIDEO: Meet Taylor Krause


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Meet the Women's Volleyball Freshmen - Taylor Krause

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will intensify its preparations for the 2013 season when practice begins in early August.

Four newcomers joined the roster since the Lions last played a match.  GoPSUsports.com kicks off a series of interviews with the freshmen getting set to kick off their first season in Penn State blue and white.

Today, we focus on 5-6 defensive specialist Taylor Krause.  The Allentown, Pa., native was a four-year letterwinner and team captain at Parkland High School in Allentown.  Krause, who plans to major in elementary education, helped guide Parkland to three conference titles, three district titles and one state championship during her scholastic career.  A Max Preps All-American, an Under Armour Second Team All-American and a Mizuno Third Team All-American, Krause also lettered in basketball and track in high school.  Her second cousin Kelly Robertson is also a member of the Penn State freshman class.  Meet Taylor Krause.



VIDEO: Meet Kelly Robertson

VIDEO: Meet Carley Muller


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Meet the Women's Volleyball Freshmen - Carley Muller

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will intensify its preparations for the 2013 season when practice begins in early August.

Four newcomers joined the roster since the Lions last played a match.  GoPSUsports.com kicks off a series of interviews with the freshmen getting set to kick off their first season in Penn State blue and white.

Today, we focus on 5-7 defensive specialist Carley Muller.  The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native was a two-year letterwinner and team captain at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach.  Muller, who plans to major in communications, helped guide Mira Costa to two Dave Mohs Tournament titles and two North High Tournament titles during her scholastic career.  As a senior, Muller was honored as Bay League Libero of the Year.  Meet Carley Muller.


VIDEO: Meet Kelly Robertson


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Meet the Women's Volleyball Freshmen - Kelly Robertson

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will intensify its preparations for the 2013 season when practice begins in early August.

Four newcomers joined the roster since the Lions last played a match.  GoPSUsports.com kicks off a series of interviews with the freshmen getting set to kick off their first season in Penn State blue and white.

Today, we focus on 6-0 middle blocker Kelly Robertson.  The Allentown, Pa., product was a four-year letterwinner and team captain at Parkland High School in Allentown.  Robertson helped guide Parkland to three conference championships, three district titles and one state championship.  She was named First Team Lehigh Valley Conference twice, Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year and was selected an Under Armour First Team All-American.  Additionally, Robertson's second cousin, Taylor Krause, who also went to Parkland H.S., is a member of the 2013 Penn State freshman class.  Meet Kelly Robertson.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 15, 2013: That's a Wrap!


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As I write this blog, I am completely exhausted by jet lag. This 10-day trek through central Europe was one that I will never forget. Over the last week and half, a bus full of players, coaches, and boosters had the opportunity to dive into the cultures of 5 different cities in 4 different countries. To say that our bodies and sleeping patterns were out of whack would be an understatement.


Early Wednesday morning after a relaxing last evening in the lobby, we all boarded the bus to the Milan airport. This time, unfortunately, all of the bags did not fit under the bus due to the increased size of the suitcases filled with gifts and shopping bags acquired throughout the trip. All of the girls used a weighing device to ensure all bags were under that dreaded 50 pound mark. Once the aisles of the bus were filled with suitcases, we were on our way to the airport.


After a smooth check-in process and a quick flight from Milan to Paris, we were left with a 4-hour layover in Charles de Gaulle airport. Our terminal was filled with high-end shops such as Prada, Fendi, Gucci and many more! The highlight of our time in Paris was when Wayne took a seat at the piano and started playing the Penn State fight song and alma mater! We all sang along right before we boarded the airplane.
Just about 8 hours later we landed in Philadelphia and made it through customs and immigration without any delays or problems. Before the rest of the group climbed onto the bus back to State College, I said my goodbyes to all because I was driving back to New Jersey with my family who met me at the airport.


I will never forget the memories I made on this trip with so many wonderful people. I want to thank all of you in the booster club for your countless hours of hard work over the past few years, which allowed us to enjoy such an incredible experience! I look forward to seeing you all in Rec Hall this fall!


Marika Racibarskas


Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 14, 2013: Ciao, Venice!


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Hello, people. Today we are leaving Venice and making our way to our last stop in Europe. We woke up early, ate some delicious NUTELLA croissants, and bussed to Milan, Italy. On our way to Milan we saw a part of the Alps mountain range outside our bus window. It was cooooool.


Immediately entering into Milan, we went and ate lunch at the training center. We had it family style, meaning we started the meal with a pasta dish and then they would bring out a salad and the main course. As for the pasta, they added green onions and some bacon. Typically, I do not like onions at all, but our tour guide, TK, insisted I try them, and I ended up really enjoying them in the pasta. The main dish ended up being pork. It was good, but I could have definitely handled going for seconds.


After eating a tasty lunch, we walked over to our hotel and got ready to play the Italian National Team. We suited up and walked to the training center where we would serve and pass. After our serve pass, we would begin the European structured warm up and then compete. In the end of our scrimmage, we ended up splitting the games. They won 2 games and we won the other 2 games. Though, it was exciting to split a game with the Italian national team, it would have been nice to play out a fifth set. However, we would play them again the next day, anyway.


After the scrimmage, we went to our hotel and got ready to explore down town. We were all dressed up in the lobby and then made our way to the tram. We then got onto the tram and made our way to down town. Upon arrival, we immediately gathered around the Duomo. It was absolutely beautiful and we all took some pictures with it. After taking pictures, we dispersed and did whatever we wanted. I went and got dinner with Micha, Paulina, Deja, Chris, and Scott (also known as Jeremy). We went to a nice restaurant where I ordered a sea food antipasta. It was my favorite meal of the trip. It consisted of muscles, squid, shrimp, a nice sauce and bread. Before I dived into my plate, I had Micha take a picture of me eating an octopus tentacle, because it was cool.


After a fine meal with friends, the day was over and we took the #14 tram home and called it a day. #JEAH


Lacey Fuller


Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 12, 2013: Shopping in Milan!


For Milan as a city I experienced great shopping, if you know how to hunt for reasonable prices. I ran into two great shops that weren't high in cost but great quality and did a little splurging! I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to come here and experience even just the city of a beautiful country.


Now for the volleyball...


After getting a taste of how the Italian National team plays and who we need to focus on, we should have a better handle on what to neutralize. We have to be more focused and crisp with our serve and pass game, but other than that the team is showing great effort. We have had such a eye opening experience playing and talking to pros throughout the trip. We are so blessed to have support like this boosters, parents and a university that backs us! Thank you all so much! CIAO!
Micha Hancock


Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 11, 2013: Hello from Slovenia!


We had another great day in Maribor. The day started off with a big spread of meats and cheeses and other classic breakfast foods which filled us up for the morning activities. We went straight from breakfast to practice where we had our best practice of the trip thus far. During practice, we had three professional players play with us, which was cool for everyone to get to play beside them but to also ask them questions about the professional world of volleyball in Europe. Following up from practice we took a bus into town as a group with the team and boosters to have lunch and explore Maribor. We went to a great pizzeria which was very yummy. They also had dishes of pasta and lasagna and by the look of some of my teammates plates, it looked delicious. For those of us who got pizza we each got our own personal pizza that was a challenge to finish it all but we all rose to the challenge! After lunch we walked around and of course we found ourselves some gelato.


Later in the day we had our second match against the Croatian National team. We competed very hard and came out with the 3-1 win. They were an extremely good team filled with a ton of experience and different ages. Ariel had a great game for the second day in a row and was one of the key factors to our win. Following the match we went to dinner at one of the best vineyards in Europe. The Croatian team came to dinner with us which was great to get to know them and to hear their insight on professional volleyball as well. We had a fantastic meal at the vineyard which completed our wonderful stay in Maribor. Thank you to all who made this trip possible. It's truly been amazing. Off to Venice!


Maddie Martin


Hey everyone! I hope you have all been following along our blogs about this amazing experience in Europe thus far! For me, being out the country is a completely different and new experience. Although my time in Europe is winding down, I can't even explain the beauty of Europe. If you have been following along, you may have noticed that we all have different topics to talk about. Well I was lucky enough to get one of the most beautiful and breathtaking tourist attractions in all of the world. Venice, Italy was an amazing city to see and walk around in. As many of you might already know there are gondolas, which are the boats that are famous to travel around the city. As I walked around the city, it was very hard to find your way around. We quickly found out that once you passed a store, there was a slim to none chance you were going to find it again. The girls, boosters, coaches, and managers walked around the city to meet in the main square to see the main attraction, the Basilica de San Marco. It was a beautiful church with architecture like I have never seen before. Fortunately for all of us, the weather as very cooperative until about the last twenty or so minutes when it started to rain. It was just an incredible view from evey way you looked. I think I can speak for everyone when I say this has truly been an experience of a lifetime that we will never forget. Everything about it has been breathtaking. I hope to see everyone soon and tell you all about this amazing trip that wouldn't be made possible without all of your generosity and support for the progress! We have made Penn State proud over here in Europe. We wear those letters with pride and always represent who we are.


We Are....
Megan Courtney