University Park, Pa. — The three-time defending national champion Penn State women’s volleyball team announced its 2010 schedule Thursday. The Nittany Lions are set to play in 32 regular season matches, including four preseason tournaments, and make 16 appearances in Rec Hall.
Highlighting the 2010 schedule are matches against eight teams that competed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, including five teams ranked in the final AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Nittany Lions will face NCAA National Championship runner-up Texas, national semifinalist Minnesota, regional finalist Michigan and regional semifinalists Florida, Stanford and Illinois. Penn State will also take on NCAA Tournament participants Ohio State and Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions own a 441-74 (.856) record against its 2010 opponents. Penn State has also secured a 337-43 (.886) record in Big Ten play since joining the league in 1991.
Penn State opens the 2010 season in Chapel Hill, N.C. at the Carolina Classic hosted by the University of North Carolina on Aug. 27-28. The Nittany Lions challenge UNC, Villanova and Campbell. The Nittany Lions return home to host the Nittany Lion Invitational on Sept. 3-4 and welcome Virginia Commonwealth, Seton Hall and Colgate to Rec Hall.
PSU heads back on the road Sept. 10-11 for a tournament at Florida. Texas and Stanford will join the Nittany Lions. Penn State’s final preseason tournament is the Penn State Classic on Sept. 17-18 in Rec Hall. The Lions host Princeton, St. John’s and George Washington.
The Nittany Lions begin Big Ten play at Illinois on Sept. 24 before heading to Wisconsin for a Sunday afternoon match on Sept. 26. The squad’s Big Ten home opener is set for Oct. 1 when the Michigan State Spartans arrive at Rec Hall.
Head coach Russ Rose, in his 32nd season at the helm of the Penn State program, welcomes the return of six starters from the 2009 National Championship team, including AVCA First Team All-Americans Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) and Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.). The 2009 squad finished with a perfect 38-0 record, secured its 13th overall and seventh straight Big Ten Championship and heads into the 2010 season on a record-breaking 102-match winning streak. The Nittany Lions also welcome back seniors Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela), Jessica Ullrich (Winfield, Ill.), Alyssa D’Errico (Byron, N.Y.) and Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), juniors Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) and Megan Shifflett (Falls Church, Va.) and sophomores Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.), Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) and Marika Racibarskas (Chatham, N.J.).
The Nittany Lions boast the addition of nine freshmen to this year’s squad, including 6-5 middle hitter Erica Denney (Aurora, Colo.), 5-6 defensive specialist Maggie Harding (State College, Pa.), 5-6 defensive specialist Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.), 6-2 outside hitter Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.), 6-1 outside hitter Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.), 6-0 setter Mikinzie Moydell (Parker, Colo.), 5-7 defensive specialist Krosby Pabst (Long Beach, Calif.), 6-4 middle hitter Ariel Scott (Ridgefield N.J.) and 6-6 middle hitter Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.).