No. 4 women's volleyball hosts No. 19 Wisconsin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After recording a thrilling 3-2 victory in a mid-week matchup against No. 11 Minnesota, the No. 4 Penn State women's volleyball team (13-2, 4-1) is back in action, taking on No. 19 Wisconsin (14-2, 3-1) Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8:30 p.m. in Rec Hall.

Penn State fans heading over to Rec Hall after the Nittany Lion football game against Michigan will receive free admission at the door with their ticket or ticket stub upon entrance. The men's volleyball team will also make a special appearance during the intermission to talk about their upcoming fall tournament, with an autograph session to follow.

As part of an ongoing series honoring our 2013 graduating class, trading cards featuring each student-athlete will be distributed at each home match. This Saturday we honor Erica Denney. Collect all seven trading cards for free admission to Senior Night vs. Illinois, Saturday, Nov. 23rd.

Behind career high contributions from a trio of senior standouts, No. 4 Penn State rallied to a close 3-2 victory against No. 11 Minnesota. Senior Ariel Scott led the squad with a season-high 25 kills, while senior Katie Slay matched a career-high mark with 16 kills on .444 hitting. Slay logged a season-high 10 blocks for a double-double, which also moved her into eighth on the Penn State all-time list with 502 total blocks. Senior Deja McClendon rounded out the group with her fourth double-double of the season (14 kills, 16 digs), totaling four blocks, including two solo blocks.

Sophomore Megan Courtney notched a double-double, registering 10 kills and a career-high 22 digs, while also chipping in six blocks. Junior Micha Hancock dished out a career high 67 assists, adding four kills, eight digs and one block.

The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series against the Badgers 40-7 after recording a pair of sweeps in both meetings last season. In the last 10 years, PSU has built a 17-3 record against the Badgers, with the most recent loss against Wisconsin occurring in five sets, Nov. 6, 2011. Within the 10-year span, Penn State notched straight-set victories in 14 of its 17 wins against the Badgers.

No. 19 Wisconsin enters this week looking to rebound off of a tough 3-2 loss at then-No. 10 Nebraska last weekend that snapped an eight-match winning streak. Despite the outcome, the Badgers are 14-2 overall this season and 3-1 in the conference. Defensively, Wisconsin is averaging 15.05 digs per set, which ranks third in the Big Ten. From the service line, the Badgers have tallied 90 aces, averaging 1.45 per set, which ranks fourth in the league.

Averaging 3.40 kills per set, Ellen Chapman is leading the offense, with 211 total kills, which ranks 10th in the conference. Hitting at a team-high .347 clip, Haleigh Nelson has also registered a squad-best 65 total blocks. Her hitting percentage is ninth in the Big Ten, while her 1.07 blocks per frame, ranks 10th. On the defensive side, five different Badgers have recorded at least 100 digs on the year, led by Taylor Morey, who is averaging 3.92 per set, which ranks fifth in the conference

The Penn State win against Yale marked head coach Russ Rose's 1,100th career victory. Following the 3-2 win against the Gophers, Rose is now 1,104- 176 all-time, which puts him just two wins away from tying UCLA head coach, Andy Banachowski's mark of 1,106 for second on the all-time list, behind Hawaii head coach, Dave Shoji.

Earlier this season, Shoji surpassed Banachowski's mark, to become the all-time leader in the category. Shoji is presently at the top with 1,118 wins. With Banachowksi no longer active, both Rose and Shoji will continue to go head-to-head, battling for the top spot.

After capturing a pair of Big Ten road wins last weekend, Penn State improved to No. 4 in the latest AVCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. The Nittany Lions have been ranked within the top five in every poll so far this season.

Last year, Penn State spent six weeks atop the standings, including five consecutive weeks from Sept. 24 to Oct.22, before earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Nov. 9. The No. 1 ranking marks the 78th time in program history that Penn State has reached the top of the polls, having earned its first-ever No. 1 ranking Sept. 2, 1997.

With 10 blocks against No. 11 Minnesota, senior Katie Slay became the eighth member in Penn State program history to record more than 500 career total blocks. The 502 total career blocks ranks eighth on the all-time list.

After helping the Nittany Lions to a 2-0 weekend on the road, junior setter Micha Hancock earned Big Ten Setter of the Week honors. The weekly league selection is Hancock's first of the season and 11th of her career.

Leading the nation in aces per frame for the fourth straight week, Hancock concluded the weekend ranked second in the Big Ten in service aces, totaling six for a 0.75 average per set. She also finished fourth in assists, after dishing out 83 total assists, averaging 10.38 per set. At Indiana, Hancock directed the Penn State offense with a .507 hitting percentage in a 3-0 victory, while also adding four aces, seven digs, four blocks and three kills on 1.000 hitting. At No. 24 Purdue, she registered her first double-double of the season, tallying 45 assists and 13 digs.

The Nittany Lions hit the road next weekend, traveling to Illinois and Northwestern for a pair of Big Ten tilts. Penn State visits the Fighting Illini Friday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. ET, before taking on the Wildcats in a Sunday matinee, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. ET.   

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Last Updated October 11, 2013