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Dec. 3, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team begins NCAA Tournament play this weekend hosting the First and Second Rounds on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-5. The Nittany Lions meet Binghamton on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Rec Hall. Army and the University of Pennsylvania meet earlier in the day at 5 p.m. The winners of both matches will play on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Penn State clinched its seventh consecutive and 13th overall Big Ten title with a 3-0 sweep of Indiana on Nov. 21. The Nittany Lions went on to close out their third straight season undefeated with a 20-0 record in league play. Four Nittany Lions were named First Team All-Big Ten, including seniors Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), junior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.), all of whom were unanimous selections, as well as junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.). Freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) was a unanimous selection to the All-Freshman team. In addition, head coach Russ Rose was selected as the Coach of the Year for the 11th time, Hodge earned the second Player of the Year honor of her career and the program's fifth straight and Dorton was named the conference's Freshman of the Year.
ALL SESSION tickets for the First and Second rounds MUST be purchased at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket office or by calling 1-800-NITTANY beginning on Monday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. up until Friday, Dec. 4 at Noon. All session tickets are $14 for adults and $8 for. SINGLE SESSION tickets WILL ONLY be available at Rec Hall on Friday and Saturday and are $8 for adults and $5 for youth. The first 750 students will be allowed in free to the Penn State match courtesy of the Penn State Women's Volleyball Booster Club and Penn State Athletics.
Penn State Preview
The top-ranked Nittany Lions closed out the regular season with a perfect 32-0 record and a 20-0 record in Big Ten play. Penn State defeated Michigan State, 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-21) and nationally-ranked Michigan, 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-23).
Penn State attacked at a combined .337 clip in weekend play. The Lions averaged 14.67 kills per set, 13.67 assists per set, 1.00 ace per set, 12.83 digs per set and 4.08 blocks per set. Senior Megan Hodge led the way with 36 kills (6.00 kps), while junior Arielle Wilson led the team with a .613 attack percentage. Senior setter Alisha Glass averaged. 13.67 assists per set and junior Alyssa D'Errico led the back row with 3.17 digs per set. Wilson was imposing at the net with 1.83 blocks per set.
The Nittany Lions extended their NCAA-record winning streak to 96 consecutive matches and their Big Ten winning streak to 65 straight matches. Penn State sits atop the all-time Big Ten consecutive wins list and owns the top three spots. Penn State's home-match winning streak currently stands at 72 and their road-match winning streak is at 47.
Scouting the Bearcats
Binghamton won the America East Championship and finished the regular season with an overall record of 15-15. The Bearcats defeated conference leaders New Hampshire and Albany for their league championship. Penn State is Binghamton's first nationally-ranked opponent this season.
Penn State vs. Binghamton
The Nittany Lions and Bearcats have met once previously with Penn State securing a 3-0 (30-15, 30-8, 30-10) victory on Dec. 2, 2005 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Series vs. Possible Second Round Opponents
Penn State is 4-0 all-time against the Black Knights. The two squads first met on Sept. 1, 1990 with the Lions winning 3-0 (15-5, 15-4, 15-2). The two squads last met on Sept. 14, 2002 with Penn State sweeping Army, 3-0 (30-12, 30-15, 30-17).
The Nittany Lions are 7-0 against the Quakers. Penn State first met Penn on Oct. 1, 1977 winning the match 2-1 (15-6, 8-15, 15-9). The two programs last met on Sept. 17, 2005 with the Lions taking the match, 3-0 (30-17, 30-16, 30-17).
If Penn State wins both matches this weekend, the Nittany Lions head to the Gainesville Regional, one of four pre-selected sites for the NCAA Regional Championships scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12. The NCAA Regional Championship is slated for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 12 and will air on ESPNU.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2009 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.