No. 2 women's volleyball returns home to face No. 14 Purdue and Indiana

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Following two consecutive matches on the road, No. 2 Penn State women's volleyball (20-2, 11-1) is back in Rec Hall this weekend, taking on No. 14 Purdue (16-7, 7-5) Friday, Nov. 8th at 7 p.m. and Indiana (9-14, 1-11) Saturday, Nov. 9th at 7 p.m. The Nittany Lions claimed a pair of wins against both squads on the road in the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season.

Friday's match against Purdue is THON Night, featuring free admission to children 12 and under who download and color one of the special Penn State coloring pages from the Nittany Lions Facebook page and bring it with them to the match. Saturday's match against Indiana is Juvenile Diabetes Awareness Night. Penn State will recognize and honor the JDRF organization as well as promote awareness for this important cause.

Penn State holds a 49-5 advantage in the all-time series against the Boilermakers. In the most recent outing this season, the Nittany Lions claimed a close five-set victory on the road to stretch its streak of consecutive victories against Purdue to six. Within the span of six wins dating back to Oct. 30, 2010, only one of the triumphs has come in straight sets. The Nittany Lions have also swept its last two consecutive two-match series' against the Boilermakers, having split in 2010.

Purdue enters the week after splitting two five-set decisions at home last weekend. Then-No. 10 Minnesota snapped the Boilermakers' four-match winning streak, but Purdue bounced back and claimed a close five-setter the next evening to improve to 16-7 overall and 7-5 in the conference.

A core group of four attackers are pacing the Boilermaker offense with more than 2.00 kills per set, led by Catherine Rebarchak, who's averaging 2.97 per set. Kierra Jones is another top offensive weapon, leading the team with a .365 hitting clip, averaging 2.02 kills per set. Jones is also leading the Boilermaker blocking unit, averaging 1.18 per frame. Libero Carly Cramer is anchoring the defense with 4.01 digs per set, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten.

The Nittany Lions own a 46-1 record in the all-time series against the Hoosiers, having recently extended its winning streak to six consecutive matches following a 3-0 win in Bloomington earlier this season. The short streak dates back to the only loss to Indiana in program history, which came on the road Oct. 9, 2010 in four sets. Prior to the slipup, Penn State posted a lengthy succession of 40 consecutive victories against the Hoosiers which began with the first meeting between the two clubs Nov. 6, 1982.

Indiana hits the court in Rec Hall after a 0-2 week at home, moving the Hoosiers to 9-14 on the season and 1-11 in the conference. Prior to the pair of losses, the Hoosiers picked up their first Big Ten victory of the season, upsetting then-No.10 Michigan State in five sets on the road. IU takes on Ohio State Friday, Nov. 8th before arriving to University Park.

A duo featuring Morgan Leach and Jordan Haverly are at the helm of the IU offense. Both have totaled more than 200 kills on the year, led by Leach, who's averaging 2.80 per frame on a team-best .257 hitting clip. Haverly is averaging 2.59 kills per set, while also leading the team with 21 aces. On the defensive side, Awele Nwaeze is leading the squad with 72 total blocks, including 13 solo stuffs for a 0.87 average.

Last weekend, Penn State posted its 20th victory of the season at No. 14 Michigan State. The triumph marks the 37th time in program history that the Nittany Lions have reached 20 wins in a season. PSU has reached the mark in every single-season since women's volleyball began at Penn State in 1976.

Following an undefeated weekend on the road, junior Micha Hancock has earned Big Ten Setter of the Week honors for her performances in a pair of wins at No. 17 Michigan and No. 14 Michigan State. The selection is Hancock's 13th weekly conference accolade of her career and third setter of the week honor in 2013.

Against the Wolverines, Hancock dished out 48 assists, pacing three Nittany Lion attackers to double-digit kills. Hancock also notched five kills, one ace, nine digs and five total blocks in the victory, including one solo stop. Hancock returned to the court the next evening against the 14th-ranked Spartans, guiding Penn State to a .451 hitting percentage, pacing four attackers to .400 or better hitting. Hancock also distributed 35 assists, adding nine digs and one block in the straight-set win.

Senior Ariel Scott has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. Scott was selected from a pool of 29 other candidate for the annual award that is presented to one athlete who exemplifies excellence both on and off the court. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website until December 9, as fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner at the NCAA Championship.

After posting a pair of Big Ten wins on the road last weekend, Penn State has earned its third consecutive No. 2 ranking in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. The Nittany Lions also picked up 14 first place votes in the poll, which is three more than last week. Prior to the No. 2 position, PSU spent two weeks ranked No. 4. Penn State has been ranked within the top five in every poll so far this season.

After earning victory number 1,100 against Yale earlier this season, head coach Russ Rose moved into sole possession of second place on the NCAA DI wins list with victory number 1,107 at Northwestern. With the triumph, Rose passes former UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski, who previously owned the record.

With 1,111 wins, Rose is presently 10 wins shy of tying current Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji for first on the all-time list with 1,121 career victories. Earlier this season, Shoji surpassed Banachowski, claiming the top spot as the newest leader in the category. With Rose and Shoji both still active, the two will continue to go head-to-head, battling for the top spot.

Recording 10 digs against Iowa, senior Deja McClendon registered her 1,004th career dig to eclipse the 1,000 career kills/1,000 career digs mark. With 1,459 kills and 1,024 digs, McClendon is the first Nittany Lions to reach the mark since Megan Hodge in 2009 (2,142k/1,150d) and the fifth in program history.

Averaging 0.72 aces per set, junior Micha Hancock moved to No. 2 in the nation in the category, after previously spending one week atop the standings. Her mark also ranks first in the Big Ten. Prior to last week, Hancock spent the last two weeks ranked second, after having led the nation in the category for five consecutive weeks.

With four aces against Eastern Kentucky, Hancock notched her 200th career service ace. Since then, she's improved her mark to 228 aces, which puts her just seven shy of tying Ellen Hensler (1983-86) for first on the PSU all-time list.

Penn State registered its 15th straight-set victory of the season at Michigan State last weekend. Among the 22 matches the Nittany Lions have played this season 15 of the 20 victories or 75 percent have been by a score of 3-0. Of the 15 sweeps, nine of them have come against non-conference foes, while three of them have been against Big Ten teams.

In the match against Indiana, the Nittany Lions posted a .506 hitting percentage against the Hoosiers, which is the highest PSU has hit against a league opponent so far this season. Penn State registered a .458 attacking percentage against Iowa, before hitting .451 at Michigan State, rounding out the top three highest hitting clips Penn State has put together this season against Big Ten teams.

Overall, the Nittany Lions have held their opponents to a .133 hitting percentage, which ranks first in the conference. Other than Michigan State (9/27), no Big Ten team has been able to hit better than .244, which is the attacking percentage the Spartans posted in a 3-2 win against Penn State. Texas is the only squad to out-hit Penn State in a match this season, having recorded a .262 hitting clip in a five-set victory during the non-conference portion of the schedule.

Penn State has held seven of its 20 opponents to 40 or fewer points in seven matches this season. In non-conference play, the Nittany Lions played four consecutive matches surrendering no more than 40 points, including Florida Gulf Coast (40), Albany (18), Eastern Kentucky (37) and Yale (39). In conference play, PSU has limited three teams to less than 40 total points per game, including Indiana (37), Ohio State (36) and Iowa (27). The 27 total points given up against the Hawkeyes marks the fewest number of points Penn State has surrendered to a Big Ten opponent since 25-point set scoring began in 2008.

Micha Hancock has paced the Nittany Lions to a .320 overall hitting percentage in 2013, which ranks third in the nation and leads the Big Ten. Penn State is also posting 13.76 kills per set, which is good for 49th in the country and second in the conference. Individually, senior Katie Slay's .408 hitting percentage ranks 22nd in the nation and second in the conference, while Junior Nia Grant is close behind with a .407 clip, which ranks 23rd nationally and third in the league.

Overall, Penn State's 3.01 blocks per set ranks third nationally, while also leading the conference. Katie Slay is at the helm of the Nittany Lion blocking unit, averaging 1.60 per frame, which ranks fourth in the nation and first in the conference.

Among the 22 matches Penn State has played this year, the Nittany Lions have compiled a 9-2 record in matches against ranked opponents this season, which includes matches against three different non-conference teams and six different teams from the Big Ten.

Penn State returns to the road next weekend, traveling to Wisconsin and Minnesota for a second round against the two Big Ten teams. The Nittany Lions square off against the Badgers Friday, Nov. 15th before taking on the Golden Gophers Saturday, Nov. 16th.   

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Last Updated November 08, 2013