Penn State fifth in final fall Directors' Cup rankings

University Park, Pa. — Following another sensational fall sports season, in which six teams earned a berth in their respective NCAA Championships, Penn State stands fifth overall in the final fall rankings for the 2010-11 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup.

The Nittany Lions have garnered 300 points to post their 11th top five fall finish in the 18 years of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup. Last year, Penn State was No. 4 after the fall sports season.

Penn State has finished in the top 25 in each of the previous 17 Directors' Cup competitions. The Nittany Lions have amassed eight top-10 finishes and placed 11th last year.

The Nittany Lions are in elite company as one of only 10 schools nationwide to be ranked in every final Directors' Cup Top 25, joined by: Arizona State, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas and UCLA.

Penn State was the nation's only institution to have its men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball teams selected to their respective NCAA Championships this past fall. The Nittany Lion football team played Florida in the Outback Bowl to also earn Directors' Cup points.

Through the fall, the Nittany Lions are joined in the Directors' Cup top five by first-place Stanford, North Carolina, Ohio State and Florida State.

Last month, Penn State captured an unprecedented fourth straight NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship. Led by head coach Russ Rose, Honda Player of the Year Blair Brown and All-Americans Deja McClendon, and Arielle Wilson, the Nittany Lions (32-5) delivered a dominating 3-0 victory over Cal in the NCAA championship match. Penn State won its eighth consecutive outright Big Ten Championship and 14th overall. For their spectacular efforts, the Lions earned 100 points in the Learfield Directors' Cup Standings.

The Penn State men's soccer team advanced to the third round of the NCAA Championship. Led by the efforts of All-Americans Corey Hertzog, the nation's leader in goals and points, and Matheus Braga, Penn State finished 18th in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll after posting a 14-8-1 record. Guided by first-year head coach Bob Warming, the team accumulated 64 Directors' Cup points.

The Nittany Lion women's soccer team also earned a win in the NCAA Championship after capturing a share of their 13th consecutive Big Ten title. Coach Erica Walsh's Nittany Lions beat Penn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and earned 50 Directors' Cup points. Sophomore Christine Nairn earned NSCAA second-team All-America honors and was a semifinalist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy.

Bolstered by its 25th berth in the NCAA Championship, the Penn State field hockey team received 25 Directors' Cup points following another successful campaign. Led by Char Morett, who was named the Mideast Region Coach of the Year, Penn State earned a 14-6 record and earned an NCAA berth for the eighth time since 2000. Kelsey Amy and Ayla Halus earned second-team All-America accolades from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.

The Penn State men's and women's cross teams both finished in the top 30 at the NCAA Championships and earned a total of 36 Directors' Cup points for their efforts. Under the direction of Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan, both teams qualified for the national meet in the same year for the first time since 1994. The women, led by sophomore Brooklyne Ridder, placed 26th in the NCAA field, while the men, paced by Kyle Dawson, finished 30th overall.

Penn State garnered 25 Directors' Cup points from the football team's participation in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. Highlighted by the efforts of All-American guard Stefen Wisniewski and record-breaking tailback Evan Royster, the Nittany Lions made their 37th postseason appearance under Hall of coach Joe Paterno. He became the first Football Subdivision Coach to reach 400 victories with the Nittany Lions' thrilling 35-21 comeback win over Northwestern on Nov. 6.

The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Standings are unveiled following the fall, winter and spring seasons. The award was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports -- 10 women's and 10 men's.

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Last Updated May 20, 2011