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Aug. 13, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's volleyball team heads into the 2012 season ranked No. 3 in the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced today. The Nittany Lions are one of two Big Ten teams to crack the top five, with Nebraska coming in at No. 4
UCLA, the defending NCAA Champion, took the top spot with 54 of the 60 possible first place votes, while Texas is ranked No. 2 and was one of four other teams to receive first place votes. Following Nebraska to round out the top five is USC.
Penn State will face 11 teams listed in the 2012 AVCA poll, including eight teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation. The squad opens the season in Louisville, Ky., site of the 2012 NCAA Championship, where it will face Louisville and Western Kentucky, both of which received votes in the preseason poll. The Nittany Lions will then face Texas (No. 2) and Stanford (No. 6) in the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic to open their home slate on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at Rec Hall. Penn State opens Big Ten play on Sept. 19 at home against No. 4 Nebraska. Other ranked Big Ten opponents the Nittany Lions will face in 2012 include, Illinois (No. 7), Purdue (No. 9), Minnesota (No. 16), Michigan (No. 23) and Ohio State (No. 24). In addition, Penn State will take on the Michigan State Spartans who received votes in the poll.
Head coach Russ Rose, in his 34th season at the helm of the Penn State women's volleyball program, returns six players with starting experience from the 2011 team, including AVCA First Team All-American Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.), AVCA Second Team All-American Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) and AVCA Third Team All-American Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.). Other returning starters include junior Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.) and sophomores Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.). The Nittany Lions also welcome back seniors Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) and Marika Racibarskas (Chatham, N.J.), redshirt sophomores Erica Denney (Aurora, Colo.) and Maggie Harding (State College, Pa.) and sophomores Dominique Gonzalez (San Antonio, Texas), Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, N.J.) and Lacey Fuller (San Diego, Calif.)
Joining the Nittany Lions in 2012 are four freshmen, including Lara Caraway (Evans City, Pa.), Paulina Prieto Cerame (Miami, Fla.), Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) and Kendall Pierce (Eden, N.Y.).
Single match tickets for Penn State women's volleyball home matches go on sale on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth (12 and under). Group tickets are $5 at the door or $4 if purchased in advance. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Athletic Ticket Office in the Bryce Jordan Center during regular business hours.