No. 1 women's volleyball opens NCAA play at Rec Hall

University Park, Pa. — The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team (32-0, 20-0 Big Ten) opens up NCAA play at home this weekend, hosting Long Island in the First Round at 6 p.m. ET on Friday (Dec. 5)  at Rec Hall. The other match on Friday features Yale against Ohio beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. The winners from each of Friday's matches square off at 4 p.m on Saturday (Dec. 6) for a berth in the NCAA Regional Semifinal, slated for next weekend at Rec Hall.

All three matches will feature Gametracker and a free live video stream at www.GoPSUsports.com.

ALL SESSION tickets for the First and Second rounds MUST be purchased at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket office or by calling 814-865-5555 beginning on Monday, Dec. 1 up until 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5. All session tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for youth and students with a valid college or university ID. SINGLE SESSION tickets WILL ONLY be available at Rec Hall on Friday and Saturday and are $7 for adults and $5 for youth and students. The first 250 Penn State students will be admitted for free courtesy of the Penn State women's volleyball booster club.

Previewing Penn State

The Nittany Lions enter the weekend with a 32-0 overall record after closing out its second straight undefeated Big Ten season at 20-0 with sweeps of Ohio State (25-20, 25-12, 30-28) and No. 20 Michigan (25-22, 25-18, 25-13) last weekend on the road. Junior outside hitter Megan Hodge and senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett lead the squad with 4.00 and 3.90 kills per game, respectively, as senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto chips in 2.51 kills per game on a nation-leading .515 hitting percentage. Junior setter Alisha Glass directs the offense with a country-best 12.54 assists per game while senior libero Roberta Holehouse tops the squad with 3.31 digs per game. Harmotto and sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson head the blocking list with 1.42 and 1.40 blocks per game, respectively. As a team, Penn State is hitting a nation-leading .404 while adding in 15.17 kills per game, 1.33 service aces per game, 11.90 digs per game and 3.19 blocks per game.

Scouting Long Island

The Blackbirds head into Friday's contest as the Northeast Conference champion with a 19-11 overall record and a 7-1 league mark. Junior libero Svetlana Simic leads the squad with 4.04 kills per game as senior middle hitter Martina Racic chips in 3.24 kills per game. Freshman Chelsey Stanton dishes out 9.29 assists per game while senior Jasmine Perez leads the defense with 3.92 digs per game and Simic chips in 3.71 digs per game. Freshman middle hitter Ashley Rice heads the blocking list with 0.99 blocks per game. As a team, Long Island is hitting .175 with 11.96 kills per game, 1.58 service aces per game, 14.53 digs per game and 2.02 blocks per game.

The Series: Penn State vs. Long Island

Penn State leads Long Island, 3-0, in a series that began in 2005. The two teams met earlier this season at Rec Hall during the Nittany Lion Invitational and the Lions came out with a three-game sweep (25-8, 25-16, 25-9) on Sept. 5, 2008. The other two meetings between the two squads have also been in the NCAA Tournament, with Penn State claiming a three-game win (30-16, 30-27, 30-15) on Dec. 1, 2006 in the First Round and the Lions posting a three-game sweep (30-11, 30-27, 30-8) on Dec. 3, 2005 in the Second Round.

The Series Versus Possible Second Round Opponents

Ohio

Penn State leads Ohio, 1-0, in a series that began earlier this season. The two teams met at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic on Aug. 31, 2008 in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the Nittany Lions earning a three-game win (25-15, 25-19, 25-9).

Yale

Penn State leads Yale, 6-0, in a series that began in 1978. The last meeting was earlier this season at Rec Hall for the Penn State Classic, when the Nittany Lions claimed a three-game win (25-7, 25-13, 25-16) on Sept. 19, 2008.

Next Up

The Nittany Lions and Rec Hall will be one of four pre-selected sites for the NCAA Regional Championships, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13. The University Park site winner will face the winner of the Dayton sub-regional (Tennessee Tech, Tulane, Western Michigan, Dayton) in the NCAA Regional Semifinal at 6 p.m. ET.

The winners of each of the four regional championships advance to the NCAA Semifinals, slated for Thursday, Dec. 18 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. The NCAA National Championship match is Saturday, Dec. 20 and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010