No. 7 women's volleyball visits No. 14 Purdue, Indiana

October 17, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 7 Penn State women's volleyball (16-3, 4-2) hits the road this weekend, traveling to the state of Indiana for a pair of Big Ten conference matchups. The Nittany Lions square off against No. 14 Purdue (16-2, 6-0) Friday (Oct. 17) at 8 p.m. ET before heading to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers Saturday (Oct. 18) at 7 p.m. ET.

Friday's matchup against the Boilermakers will broadcast live on the Big Ten Network with Mike Wolf and Audrey Flaugh on the call.

* Penn State went 1-1 last weekend, opening competition with its 14th straight set victory of the season Wednesday evening, knocking off then-No. 24 Northwestern to earn its fourth win of the 2014 season against a ranked opponent. The Nittany Lions fell short on Saturday, dropping a four-set decision to then-No. 15 Illinois.

* Penn State looks to take down the only unbeaten team in Big Ten play when it meets its eighth ranked opponent of the season at Purdue Friday night. Penn State is 4-3 against teams ranked in the AVCA Top 25 in 2014.

* Averaging 1.05 aces per set, senior Micha Hancock has once again secured herself as the nation's leader in the category for the fifth consecutive week. With more aces than anyone in the NCAA standings (66) in 2014, she's matched a season-high mark twice this year with eight aces in two separate outings.

* As a team, Penn State's 1.95 aces per set ranks second nationally, while also leading the conference. Penn State's .352 hitting percentage leads the nation and ranks first in the Big Ten. Additionally, two Penn State attackers are presently hitting .374 or higher, led by senior Nia Grant's .473 hitting percentage, which ranks fourth nationally and leads the conference.

* Penn State moved to No. 7 in the latest AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll after spending last week ranked fifth. Prior to the No. 5 positioning, the Nittany Lions spent four consecutive weeks ranked third.

Leading the team in digs in 16 of 19 matches this season, senior libero Dominique Gonzalez highlighted the Big Ten season opener with her third 20-dig performance of the season against then-No. 5 Wisconsin, before following with a season-high mark of 26 digs in a 3-1 win at No. 17 Minnesota. Having broken into the conference standings two weeks ago, she presently leads the squad with 3.71 digs per frame, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten.

Senior setter Micha Hancock has paced the Nittany Lions to a .352 hitting clip, which ranks first in the nation, while also leading the Big Ten. Hancock's also paced two top Nittany Lion hitters to.374 or better efficiency, led by senior Nia Grant's .473 hitting clip, which ranks fourth nationally and first in the conference. Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney rounds out the pair with a .374 hitting percentage, which is slotted sixth in the Big Ten standings.

Including an 8-1 mark in 2014, Penn State owns a 554-33 (.944) all-time record at home in Rec Hall. Following a straight-set victory against No. 24 Northwestern, the Nittany Lions hold a 250-18 (.933) mark in Big Ten matches on the court in Rec Hall. Only three Big Ten teams have defeated the Nittany Lions on their home court three or more times including Ohio State (5), Michigan (3) and Michigan State (3). Penn State has posted unblemished records in Big Ten play at home in seven of the last 10 years, winning 186 of 200 matches in the 10-year stretch. In the past five seasons, Penn State has captured 90 wins in 100 total conference tilts with fewer than five league losses in each year.

With 1,141 wins, head coach Russ Rose is atop the NCAA DI all-time wins record, having previously tied current Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji for first on the all-time list earlier last week. The two active head coaches have traded the top spot throughout the season. Both Rose and Shoji are the only two NCAA DI head coaches with more than 1,000 career wins. The two are each one of three active NCAA head coaches in all three divisions to have more than 1,100 career wins. Additionally, Rose owns the all-time record for NCAA DI career winning percentage, having posted a career clip of .864 in the past 35 seasons.

In 2013, head coach Russ Rose earned his 1,107th victory with a straight-set win at North¬western, moving him into sole possession of second place on the NCAA DI career wins list. With the triumph, he passed former UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski, who previously owned the record.

After posting seven aces in a 1-1 weekend at home, senior Micha Hancock is presently aver¬aging 1.05 aces per set in 2014. Her mark ranks first nationally for the fifth consecutive week, while also ranking atop the Big Ten conference standings. Hancock closed out the last two weeks of the non-conference slate with back-to-back weeks featuring at least 21 aces.

Averaging 0.65 aces per set in 2013, Hancock finished last year ranked second nationally in aces per set. Her final tally also ranked first in the Big Ten. The impressive serving set a new program record. With four aces against Eastern Kentucky, she notched her 200th career service ace. Building on the mark throughout the season she moved into sole possession of first place on the Penn State all-time list with 254 aces to surpass Ellen Hensler, who previously set the record in 1986. With 66 aces in 2014, Hancock has improved her mark to 320 aces all-time to keep a firm hold on her all-time record.

Following a 1-1 weekend at home, Penn State moved to No. 7 in the latest AVCA Top 25 Coach¬es Poll, after spending last week ranked fifth. Prior to the No. 5 positioning, the Nittany Lions spent the past four consecutive weeks ranked third. PSU spent the first two consecutive weeks of the season ranked No. 1 overall.

Penn State has earned 14 of its 16 (88%) victories this season in straight sets. Within those 14 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.

Penn State women's volleyball is set to host its annual "Dig Pink" match to support breast cancer awareness Friday, Oct. 24, when it welcomes Michigan to the court in Rec Hall for a 7 p.m. matchup on the Big Ten Network. Paired up with the Side-Out Foundation, the Nittany Lions will host their annual "Dig Pink" match for the seventh consecutive year. Penn State has raised nearly $6,000 for the fight against breast cancer with proceeds directly benefiting the organization.

Friday's match against the Wolverines will feature a special ceremony honoring breast cancer survivors during the intermission. Penn State will also have limited edition pink t-shirts for sale with a portion of the proceeds going toward the Nittany Lion's Side-Out Foundation profile. Fans can make contributions directly to the PSU profile here.

Penn State opened the 2014 Big Ten slate with a challenging four-match road swing that featured matches against a trio of top-25 opponents. The Nittany Lions posted a 3-1 mark in the first two weeks of conference play picking up wins against No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 17 Minnesota and Iowa, despite a four-set loss to No. 8 Nebraska.

Penn State returns home from the road next weekend for another set of Big Ten conference contests in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions welcome Michigan Friday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. before host¬ing Michigan State Saturday, Oct. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in Rec Hall. Friday's matchup will broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.   

Last Updated October 17, 2014