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WVB Set To Take On Huskers in NCAA Semifinal

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Dec. 12, 2017

The No. 1 Penn State women’s volleyball team will take on No. 5 Nebraska at 7 p.m. ET in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship Semifinal Match in Kansas City, Mo., at the Sprint Center.

How to Follow
The Penn State vs. Nebraska match will be on ESPN at 7 p.m. The match will be called by Paul Sunderland, Karch Kiraly, and Holly Rowe. For State College locals, the match will also be available on NewsRadio 1390 AM, WRSC with the call by Jon Gross, Dean DeVore, and Adam Hughes.


>>This will be the 31st meeting overall between Penn State and Nebraska, their 11th in the NCAA tournament and their third in the final four.

>> The series edge goes to Nebraska 20-10, with the Huskers 7-3 in their NCAA tournament meetings with Penn State. But it must be noted that nine of those 10 in the postseason was played in the state of Nebraska -- eight in Lincoln and one in Omaha.

>> Penn State has a 16-11 record against current Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament, but they boast a 13-5 record against teams that they played in the conference season in which the teams played in each respective year. The 16-11 record includes all post-season matches against Nebraska, while 13-5 only includes matches against Nebraska since they've joined the Big Ten.

>> Penn State has racked up 12 Big Ten weekly awards as Simone Lee has a Player and Defensive honor to her name, while Haleigh Washington has picked up five Player of the Week honors, Kendall White has earned three Defensive Player of the Week awards, Ali Frantti snagged a Player of the Week honor, and Tori Gorrell closed out the season with a Defensive Player of the Week mark.



>> Against Rutgers (11/18), Simone Lee set a Penn State record for hitting percentage. The Penn State record required a minimum of 20 attempts, and the outside put down 17 kills with one error on 20 swings for a .800 clip to set the record.

>> Haleigh Washington is hitting the nation’s best .503, which is on pace to be the 2nd best hitting percentage from 2008-Present in a season.

>> Washington is also on pace to have one of the top-three career hitting percentages in NCAA history (.461).

>> Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington are two of the 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award.

>> Haleigh Washington is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, and was the 200th selection in Penn State history.

>> Penn State has three active 1,000 kill club members as Ali Frantti was the first on Aug. 26 at West Virginia, and Simone Lee followed on Oct. 6 at Ohio State, and Haleigh Washington eclipsed the mark on Oct. 21 at Indiana. The last time Penn State had three active 1,000 kill club members was in 2008. Entering the season, Megan Hodge and Nicole Fawcett were already past the mark, but on Sept. 5, 2008, Christa Harmotto joined the club as well.

>>Haleigh Washington became the 7th athlete in Penn State volleyball lore to reach 1,000 kills and 500 blocks on Oct. 25. She was the first in seven seasons to reach 500 blocks, as the last to achieve this feat was Arielle Wilson (2007-10).

Last Time vs. Nebraska
Then-No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions fell 3-0; 26-24, 25-19, 25-20, to then-No. 14-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten opener for both squads at Rec Hall on Friday evening.

Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) recorded a double-double for the Nittany Lions, putting down a team-high 15 kills and scooping up a season-high 13 digs. This was Lee's second double-double of the season.

Nebraska was on fire offensively, putting down 21 kills in both of the first two sets, and 17 in the third and that proved to be one of the biggest difference makers in the match. Penn State put down 38 total kills on a clip of .227, but the Huskers tallied 59 on a high mark of .347.

The Huskers used a strong serving and passing performance to bolster their effective attack, siding out at 73-percent for the entire match. Penn State finished the match with a 61-percent mark.

How’d We Get Here
Penn State opened the 2017 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship at home, hosting the First and Second Rounds. In the opening match, Penn State took on Howard. Penn State hit .333 in the match, as Haleigh Washington had 13 kills, Ali Frantti added 12, and Tori Gorrell added 11 on a .714 clip. The Nittany Lions also held Howard to just .085 hitting, including .000 in three of the four sets. In the lone dropped set, Howard hit .355. Penn State took the match, 3-1; 25-10, 22-25, 25-15, 25-16.

In the Second Round match, the Nittany Lions hosted in-state foe Pittsburgh. Penn State again saw three players in double-figure kills. Simone Lee led with 19 kills, adding four blocks. Haleigh Washington followed with 16 kills, and seven blocks, while Ali Frantti added 14 kills and five blocks. Penn State out-blocked Pitt, 17.0-5.0. The Nittany Lions took the match, 3-1; 25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19.

Since the Nittany Lions were the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, with opening weekend wins, they earned the privilege of hosting the University Park Regional. Penn State welcomed Missouri in the Third Round, and swept the Tigers, 3-0; 25-17, 25-18, 25-19. Lee again led the way with 15 kills, while Frantti tacked on 11. Abby Detering added a double-double with 13 assists and 10 digs.

In the Regional Final, Penn State played a familiar foe in Michigan State and in back-to-back nights, Penn State recorded a sweep; taking down the Spartans; 3-0, 25-23, 25-17, 28-26. Lee earned Most Outstanding Player of the Regional honors after putting down 12 kills and scooping up 10 digs. Washington recorded 10 blocks on the day, adding five kills, and found herself on the Regional All-Tournament Team. Fellow senior Ali Frantti joined her fellow seniors on the All-Tournament team after adding eight kills and 10 digs to help lead the Nittany Lions to an NCAA Semifinal bid.

What’s Next
With a win on Thursday, Penn State would make it to their 11th NCAA national final appearance. They would take on the winner of No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Stanford at 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 16. The match will be broadcast on one of the ESPN’s channels, specifics are still to be determined.


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