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Dec. 15, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team makes a return trip to the state of Florida on Thursday, Dec. 17 when it takes on No. 3 Hawaii in the NCAA National Semifinal. Action is set to begin at 9 p.m. in Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum.
Livestats will be available at GoPSUsports.com and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can listen to the match with Dean DeVore and Craig Dyer on Newsradio 103 WRSC-FM (103.1FM) in State College and surrounding areas and around the world for free on GoPSUsports.com. Airtime Thursday night is 8:30 p.m. and will include extensive pre- and post-match interviews with head coach Russ Rose, assistant coach Dennis Hohenshelt and select players. You will be able to email comments and questions during the broadcast to Dean and Craig at PSUVolleyball@gmail.com. In addition, fans can follow the Nittany Lions' trip to Tampa on Twitter, by following @PSUVolleyball or Susanpsusports.
Penn State Preview
The top-ranked Nittany Lions earned a spot in the NCAA National Semifinals for the third straight season after defeating both Florida and California in the NCAA Regional in Gainesville, Fla. Head coach Russ Rose is going for his 1,000th career win against Hawai'i.
Penn State attacked at a combined .402 clip in matches against the Gators and the Golden Bears. The Lions averaged 15.83 kills per set, 15.00 assists per set, 1.67 aces per set, 15.83 digs per set and 2.67 blocks per set. Senior Megan Hodge, the Gainesville Regional Most Outstanding Player, led the team with 5.67 kps, while senior setter Alisha Glass had 13.33 assists per set. Junior Alyssa D'Errico averaged a team-best 1.00 aces per set and 3.67 digs per set. Junior Fatima Balza was a wall at the net with a 1.50 blocks per set average.
The Nittany Lions extended their NCAA-record winning streak to 100 consecutive matches. Their Big Ten winning streak is at 65 after the completion of the regular season and the Nittany Lions aim to extend it in 2010. Penn State's home-match winning streak currently stands at 74 and their road-match winning streak is at 49. Penn State has also won 16-straight NCAA Tournament matches dating back to the start of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Scouting the Rainbow Wahine
Hawaii has not suffered a loss since a Sept. 6 setback to Cal in five sets in their Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The Wahine have only lost six sets since facing Cal. UH defeated both New Mexico and USC in the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The squad went on to defeat Big Ten opponents Illinois and Michigan in the Stanford Regional.
Penn State vs. Hawai'i
The Nittany Lions are 4-0 against Hawaii. The two squads first met on Sept. 10, 1993 with Penn State winning, 3-0 (15-12, 15-13, 15-8). The Lions and Wahine last met on August 29, 2008 at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. Penn State won in three sets, 25-21, 25-19, 25-19.
The Series vs. Possible National Championship Opponents
Penn State owns an 8-6 record against the Longhorns. The series began with six straight losses, but Penn State has won the last eight in a row. The teams last met in 2007 with Penn State winning both matches 3-1.
The Nittany Lions are 34-7 all-time versus the Golden Gophers. Penn State has defeated Minnesota twice in 2009. The first came on Oct. 11 when the Gophers were ranked No. 5 in the nation. The squads last faced off on Oct. 30 with the Lions winning, 3-0.
Should the Nittany Lions defeat Hawaii, Penn State will advance to the championship match on Saturday, Dec. 19. The Lions would face the winner of the Minnesota/Texas match. Action is set for 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
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.