No. 3 Women's Volleyball Travels to FGCU for Hilton Garden Inn Classic
Sept. 12, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 3 Penn State women's volleyball (3-1) team will remain on the road this weekend, traveling to Florida Gulf Coast University to compete in the Hilton Garden Inn Homewood Suites Airport Classic. While in Fort Myers, the Nittany Lions will square off against Marquette on Friday, Sept. 13 at 2 p.m., before returning to action the next day, taking on Central Arkansas at 10 a.m., and tournament host, FGCU at 7 p.m. in Alico Arena.
NIKE BIG FOUR IN REVIEW
Last weekend PSU traveled to Austin, Texas to compete in the final Nike Big Four Classic, hosted by then-No. 6 Texas. In the first match of the weekend, the Nittany Lions came up short in a 3-2 loss to the Longhorns. Despite the outcome, senior Deja McClendon notched a season-high 20 kills. The next day, PSU returned to action, defeating then-No. 8 Florida in straight sets. Sophomore Megan Courtney led the team with a double-double (11k, 12d), while Penn State hit .303 as a team against the Gators.
PENN STATE VS. FLORIDA GULF COAST
The Nittany Lions own a 1-0 record against the Eagles, after having matched up against FGCU for the first time during the 2011 season. In the most recent meeting between the two clubs, Penn State downed FGCU, 3-1, (20-25, 25-11, 27-17, 25-11) in the match of the Hampton Inn Classic, hosted by PSU in Rec Hall.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
After winning the Atlantic Sun title in 2012, Florida Gulf Coast is out to a 1-6 start in 2013, having halted a 5-0 losing streak with a 3-1 win against Florida A&M last weekend in the Florida State Seminole Invitational. Kaitlin Holm is leading the Eagle offense with 74 kills, averaging 3.22 per set. Behind Holm is another top offensive performer, Jessica Barnes, who tallied a team-high 36 kills last weekend, on her way to all-tournament team honors.
NEW YEAR, NEW OPPONENTS
Penn State will take on Marquette and Central Arkansas for the first time in program history this weekend. Both the Golden Eagles and the Sugar Bears won their respective conference titles and were also 2012 NCAA Tournament participants. In 2012, PSU went 3-0 against first-time foes, picking up a trio of straight-set victories against Western Kentucky, DePaul and Portland.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Coming off of a record-breaking season and its second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, Marquette is 2-2 in 2013. The Golden Eagles opened the season with a win against Bowling Green but lost a tough five-setter to No. 13 BYU the next day. Freshman Autumn Bailey is already making an impact for the squad, leading the team with 73 kills, averaging 4.56 per set, while also ranking second on the team with 51 digs. Returning libero Julie Jeziorowski and AVCA All-American setter, Elizabeth Koberstein are anchoring the squad in digs and assists.
SCOUTING THE SUGAR BEARS
Central Arkansas also saw a record-breaking season in 2012, as it picked up the Southland conference title. The Sugar Bears are currently out to a 6-1 start in 2013, which includes a 3-1 win against No. 20 Kansas. Jessica Nagy is leading the offense with 57 kills, averaging 2.71 per set while Scout Brooks is close behind with 56, averaging 2.55 per set with a team-high 11 aces. Defensively, Shelbee Berringer is leading the squad with 107 kills, averaging 4.46 per set.
HANCOCK LEADING THE NATION IN ACES PER SET
Junior Micha Hancock is leading the nation in aces per set, according the first NCAA DI stats release. Hancock is currently averaging 1.14 aces per set across four matches so far this season, while also leading the team with 16. Hancock has recorded at least one service ace in every match this season, including eight against Syracuse and five at No. 6 Texas.
As a team, Penn State is averaging 2.00 aces per set, which ranks 14th in the country. Aside from Hancock, Nia Grant has also recorded at least one ace in every match this season for a season total of six, which ranks second on the squad.
GOTTA PLAY THE BEST TO BE THE BEST
Three of the four matches the Nittany Lions have played this season have been against teams ranked within the top 25. Penn State has tallied a 3-1 mark against ranked opponents in 2013, tallying wins against No. 19 Louisville and No. 8 Florida. Presently, there are eight more matches against ranked foes slated for the rest of the season.
WEEK TWO: PSU COMES IN AT NO. 3 IN WEEKLY AVCA TOP 25 POLL
After splitting the weekend in the Nike Big Four, Penn State moved to No. 3 in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. Joining the Nittany Lions in the rankings are eight other teams from around the Big Ten including, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue and Illinois. The nine total teams is the most that have ranked within the top 25 yet this season and also leads any other conference in the country for the most squads represented from one league.