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June 2, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics has enjoyed much success so far in 2013-14, winning three NCAA Championships and a school record-tying eight Big Ten titles. The success has boosted the Nittany Lions to No. 3 in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings as the spring athletic calendar nears the end.
Penn State has earned 1,024.25 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup points during the 2013-14 campaign, trailing second place Duke by just 0.25 points. Stanford paces the competition with 1,509.50 points and is followed by Duke (1,024.50), Penn State, Florida (999.50) and Notre Dame (989.75).
Three teams have paced the Blue and White so far this spring, with men's tennis, men's volleyball and women's lacrosse all competing in their respective NCAA Championships and earning Directors' Cup points. In addition, the Penn State men's and women's outdoor track and field teams qualified 15 competitors for the NCAA Championships, June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.
The Nittany Lion men's tennis team produced arguably the greatest season in program history, finishing in the ITA Top 25 for the first time, ranking No. 24 in the final poll. Coach Jeff Zinn's squad advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship to earn 50 Directors' Cup points. The Nittany Lions finished with a 22-6 record and were 8-3 in the Big Ten. The team was ranked in the Top 25 for the last seven weeks of the season after entering the Top 25 for the first time in program history on March 25. The Nittany Lions reached a high ranking of 16th on April 8.
The Penn State men's volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship for the 16th consecutive year, defeating Lewis, 3-1, before losing to top-ranked Loyola in five sets in the semis. Coach Mark Pavlik's squad earned 25 points in the Directors' Cup standings. The Nittany Lions finished with a record of 25-7, including a mark of 13-1 in EIVA conference play. Penn State posted wins over George Mason and Princeton to secure the program's 16th-straight EIVA title and 26th overall.
The Penn State women's lacrosse team qualified for the NCAA Championship for the third consecutive season, dropping a 16-13 contest against Princeton in the first round. Coach Missy Doherty's squad picked up 25 Directors' Cup points. The Nittany Lions finished the season with a record of 10-8 on the season, including a mark of 7-2 in games played in Happy Valley.
The Penn State men's and women's lacrosse programs will begin competing in the Big Ten in 2014-15, as Maryland and Rutgers officially join the conference on July 1, 2014.
Three Penn State squads have led the way in the 2013-14 campaign, as women's volleyball, wrestling and fencing each captured NCAA Championships, combining to score 300 Directors' Cup points. Thus far, 18 Penn State teams have scored points in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup in 2013-14.
Penn State's three NCAA Championships this year are its most since winning three in 1999-2000. Penn State student-athletes, who have an 88 percent graduation rate, have won a school record-tying and conference-best eight Big Ten titles in 2013-14 and 16 over the past two years, easily topping second place Michigan (9) in combined titles the last two years.
The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings were developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports -- 10 women's and 10 men's.
Penn State is one of only nine programs nationwide to have finished in the Directors' Cup Top 25 in all 20 years, joined by Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas and UCLA. In 2012-13, Penn State finished sixth in the Directors' Cup, its highest finish in a decade.