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Aug. 14, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Penn State women's volleyball has been tabbed the Big Ten favorite in the 2014 Preseason Coaches' Poll, as released by the conference this afternoon. The top ranking marks the ninth time in the last 10 years that the Nittany Lions have been voted No. 1 in the preseason standings.
The 16-time defending Big Ten champions are also well represented on the All-Big Ten preseason team, with more honorees than any other conference team for the second consecutive year. Senior setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) highlights a trio of selections as a unanimous selection. She is joined by senior middle hitter Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and junior outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio).
Hancock earns her second consecutive preseason All-Big Ten honor after capping off the 2013 season with NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player honors following a clutch performance from the service line in the national finals. In addition to her second career AVCA first team All-America honor, Hancock also garnered the Big Ten Setter of the Year award. Among many other accolades throughout the season, she spent several weeks atop the national standings in aces per set, as she served her way into sole possession of first place on the Penn State all-time list with 254 career aces.
Grant garnered her first career preseason All-Big Ten honor after receiving AVCA All-America honorable mention distinction following the 2013 season. Grant started 33 matches last season, amassing 208 kills, averaging 1.76 per frame. Her .350 hitting clip closed out the year ranked second best on the team, while also ranking fifth in the final conference standings. Grant proved to be a threat from the endline, totaling 23 aces to finish second on the team in the category.
Courtney also notched her second consecutive preseason All-Big Ten honor. The 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year saw action in all 36 matches during the 2013 season. She closed out the 2013 season with 297 kills, averaging 2.47 per set on .272 hitting. Defensively, her 2.51 digs per frame and 0.73 blocks per set ranked third on the squad.
Penn State kicks off the 2014 campaign hosting the Penn State Classic, Aug. 29-30 in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions take on TCU in the season home opener Friday, Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m., before squaring off against Iona Saturday, Aug. 30 at 10 a.m. and William & Mary at 7 p.m.
Both single match and season tickets are on sale and currently available for purchase by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office in the Bryce Jordan Center during normal business hours. Season tickets are priced at $84 for adults and $56 for youth ages 12 and under.
2014 Big Ten Preseason Poll
1. PENN STATE
2. Nebraska3. Wisconsin
6. Michigan State
9. Ohio State
2014 Preseason All-Big Ten Team
Liz McMahon, Illinois
Lexi Dannemiller, Illinois
KORI Moster, Michigan State
Adrianna Nora, Minnesota
Hannah Tapp, Minnesota
Mary Pollmiller, Nebraska
KADIE ROLFZEN, Nebraska
Megan Courtney, Penn State
Nia Grant, Penn State
Micha Hancock, Penn State
Kiki Jones, Purdue
VAL NICHOL, Purdue
LAUREN CARLINI, Wisconsin
Ellen Chapman, Wisconsin
*CAPS indicates unanimous selections