UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Big Ten Champion and No. 1 Penn State women’s volleyball team continues its quest for another championship this weekend when it travels to West Lafayette, Ind. to compete in the Regional Semifinals at Purdue’s Mackey Arena. The Nittany Lions take on 16th-seeded Kentucky in the regional semifinal match on Friday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. No. 8 seed Minnesota and Purdue meet in the later match at 7 p.m. The winners of each match are scheduled to play on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m.
Penn State Preview
Penn State improved to 31-2 after 3-0 sweeps of Binghamton and Bowling Green in the First and Second Rounds. Junior Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) led the team with 3.17 kills per set, while sophomore Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and junior Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) each put down 2.67 kills per set. The five primary hitters all hit .400 or better. Sophomore Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla. dished out 10.50 assists per set and had 2.50 aces per set. Sophomore Dominique Gonzalez (San Antonio, Texas) had a team-high 3.33 digs per set, while Grant and Scott led the Lions with 0.83 blocks per set each.
For the weekend, the Nittany Lions hit .441 and averaged 12.83 kills, 12.17 assists, 3.67 aces, 10.83 digs and 2.08 blocks per set.
Penn State vs. Kentucky
Penn State owns a 5-1 record against the Wildcats dating back to 1982. The Nittany Lions and the Wildcats haven’t met since 1986. The Nittany Lions have won the last four matches with Kentucky’s only win coming on Oct. 23, 1983.
Last five Meetings
UK 3-0, at UK, Oct. 23, 1983
PSU 3-0, neutral, Sept. 15, 1984
PSU 3-2, at PSU, Nov. 10, 1984
PSU 3-0, at UK, Nov. 16, 1985
PSU 3-1, at PSU, Oct. 18, 1986
Scouting the Wildcats
The Wildcats are 22-10 this season and earned the No. 16 seed in the tournament. Kentucky hosted the First and Second Rounds, sweeping ETSU in the first round and defeating Ohio State, 3-1 in the second round. This is the second straight season the Wildcats advanced to regional action.
The series vs. Possible Second Round Opponents
Penn State vs. No. 8 Minnesota
Penn State leads the series with Minnesota, 39-8. The Nittany Lions have met the Gophers twice this season. Penn State swept the Gophers at Minnesota on Sept. 29 and defeated the Gophers, 3-1, in Happy Valley on Nov. 2.
Penn State vs. Purdue
The Nittany Lions are 48-5 all-time against the Boilermakers. Earlier this season, Penn State swept Purdue on Oct. 12 at home before earning a 3-1 win on Nov. 17 in West Lafayette.
Should the Nittany Lions defeat No. 16 Kentucky on Friday, Dec. 7, Penn State will face the winner of the No. 8 Minnesota/Purdue match on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. at Mackey Arena. If the Nittany Lions advance, they will travel to Louisville, Ky. to play in the NCAA National Semfinals in the KFC Yum! Center.
For more information on the Penn State women’s volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com.