No. 3 women's volleyball heads to No. 8 Nebraska, Iowa

October 02, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No. 3 Penn State women's volleyball (14-1, 2-0) hits the road this weekend for its second consecutive Big Ten road test. The Nittany Lions travel to Nebraska to take on the eighth-ranked Cornhuskers (8-3, 2-0) Friday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. ET before heading to Iowa to square off against the Hawkeyes (8-5, 0-2) Saturday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. ET.

Friday's matchup at Nebraska will broadcast live on the Big Ten Network with Mike Wolf and Audrey Flaugh on the call. Fans can stream Saturday's match at Iowa live on BTNPlus with a paid subscription.

 

QUICK SETS
* The Nittany Lions opened the 2014 Big Ten slate last weekend with road wins at then-No. 5 Wisconsin and then-No. 17 Minnesota. With the pair of victories, PSU stretched its current winning streak to 11 consecutive matches. The streak dates back to a 3-0 win against UCLA in Palo Alto, Calif. at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.

* Seniors Micha Hancock and Dominique Gonzalez highlighted this week's Big Ten Weekly honors. Hancock collected her third consecutive Big Ten Setter of the Week nod while Gonzalez earned her first career Defensive Player of the Week award.

* Senior Micha Hancock was also honored as the Sports Imports/AVCA DI National Player of the Week for her performances last weekend. Hancock's national recognition is the second of her career and the 10th time a Penn State student-athlete has been selected for the award.

* Senior Dominique Gonzalez was also tabbed the ESPNW Volleyball Player of the Week. She led the team during the undefeated week with 6.71 digs per set, posting back-to-back 20-dig performances. She highlighted the weekend with a season-high 26 digs in the win against the Golden Gophers.

* Penn State remains No. 3 in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll for the fourth consecutive week. Prior to the No. 3 positioning, the Nittany Lions were slotted No. 1 overall for two weeks.

* The Nittany Lions' win on the road at then-No. 17 Minnesota has kept head coach Russ Rose in sole possession of first place on the all-time NCAA DI wins list with 1,139 career victories. He's presently one victory ahead of current Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji, who has 1,138 wins.

* Penn State enters the week leading the nation with a .373 team hitting percentage. Additionally, four PSU attackers are also hitting .332 or higher, led by senior Nia Grant's .485 hitting clip, which ranks fourth nationally and leads the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are out-hitting their opponents .373-.124.

THE BEST SERVE IN THE NATION
Having tallied five aces in a 2-0 week on the road, senior Micha Hancock is presently averaging 1.10 aces per set in 2014. Her mark ranks first nationally for the third consecutive week, while also ranking atop the Big Ten conference standings. Hancock closed out the last two weeks of the non-conference season with back-to-back weeks featuring at least 21 aces.

Hancock finished the 2013 season ranked second nationally in aces per set with 0.65 on the year. Serving her way through the record book, she notched her 200th career ace against Eastern Kentucky before amassing another 54 aces to move into first place on the Penn State all-time list. With 54 aces in 2014, she's bolstered her career total to 308 aces all-time to keep a firm hold on the all-time record.

GONZALEZ, HANCOCK NAB BIG TEN WEEKLY HONORS
After opening the 2014 conference slate with wins against two top-20 teams, seniors Micha Hancock and Dominique Gonzalez both collected Big Ten weekly accolades. Hancock was selected as the Big Ten Setter of the Week while Gonzalez was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Week. Gonzalez collects her first career Big Ten Weekly honor while Hancock's is the 14th Setter of the Week nod of her career.

Gonzalez led the team with 6.71 digs per set in a 2-0 week on the road that featured wins against fifth-ranked Wisconsin and No. 17 Minnesota. She posted back-to-back 20-dig performances during the week. After logging 21 digs in a straight set win against the Badgers, she set a season-high mark with 26 digs in the victory against the Gophers, marking the fourth match of the season that she's recorded 20 or more digs.

Climbing the Big Ten standings throughout the week, Gonzalez's 3.82 digs per set currently ranks 10th in the conference. Hancock guided the Nittany Lions to a .273 overall hitting clip during the week, averaging 12.57 assists per set. Individually, she hit .542 during the week without a single attack error. Hancock put down a career-high nine kills on 12 perfect swings for a .750 hitting clip against the Badgers, while also tallying a double-double with 38 assists and 10 digs.

HANCOCK GARNERS NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Following her third consecutive Big Ten Setter of the Week honor earlier this week, senior setter Micha Hancock has been selected as the AVCA DI National Player of the Week. Hancock's national recognition is the second of her career and the 10th time that a Penn State women's volleyball student-athlete has been selected as the AVCA DI National Player of the Week.

Hancock helped the Nittany Lions to wins against a pair of top-20 teams including victories on the road at No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 17 Minnesota. She directed the offense to a .273 hitting percentage on the week, while registering a .542 individual hitting clip.

THAT'S SOME HEAVY HITTING
Senior setter Micha Hancock has paced the Nittany Lions to a .372 hitting clip, which ranks first in the nation, while also leading the Big Ten. Hancock's also paced four Nittany Lion hitters to.332 or better efficiency, led by senior Nia Grant's .485 hitting clip, which ranks fourth nationally and first in the conference. Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney, junior Megan Courtney and freshman Ali Frantti are all hitting .332 or better, led by Whitney's .420 hitting percentage, which is slotted 15th in the nation and third in the Big Ten.

A CLEAN SWEEP
Penn State has earned 12 of its 14 (86%) victories this season in straight sets. Within those 12 sweeps, PSU has held five teams (Iona, William & Mary, Eastern Illinois, DePaul, East Carolina) to less than 40 total points scored in a single match. Last season, the Nittany Lions earned 23 of their 34 victories in 3-0 sweeps.

NITTANY LIONS SERVE UP A PROGRAM RECORD
Penn State served up 15 aces in a straight set victory against DePaul last weekend to match a PSU program record. The Nittany Lions originally set the record for the most amount of aces in a three set match in 2002, posted 15 aces against Fairfield Sept. 7th. PSU's 1.98 aces per set on the year presently ranks fourth nationally and first in the Big Ten.

WHAT'S NEXT?
Penn State returns home from the road to host a pair of Big Ten teams at home in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions welcome Northwestern for a midweek matchup Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. before hosting Illinois Saturday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. Penn State's match against the Wildcats will broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. Fans can also catch a live stream of Saturday's match against the Illini on Penn State All-Access with a paid subscription.   

Last Updated October 02, 2014