No. 6 women's volleyball visits No. 17 Ohio State

October 31, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 6 Penn State women's volleyball (21-3, 9-2) closes out a home-and-home series against No. 17 Ohio State (16-7, 7-4) this week with a trip out to Columbus, Ohio. The Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes square off Friday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.

Fans can catch a live stream of the matchup on BTN Plus with a paid subscription. Earlier this week, Penn State powered past Ohio State in straight sets to earn its 18th 3-0 sweep of the season. The Nittany Lion victory also moved Penn State to 6-3 against teams ranked within the AVCA Top 25 in 2014.

With 31 assists against the Buckeyes, senior Micha Hancock eclipsed the 5,000 career assists mark, making her the sixth Nittany Lion in program history to reach the milestone. With 5,010 all-time assists, she is the first to accomplish the feat since Alisha Glass (2006-09).

QUICK SETS
* Senior Micha Hancock and freshman Ali Frantti highlighted the Big Ten Weekly awards with a pair of conference honors this week. Hancock notched her 15th career Big Ten Setter of the Week honor while Frantti picked up her third Freshman of the Week award.

* Tuesday's win against OSU improved the Penn State advantage in the all-time series against the Buckeyes to 43-14, while also stretching the Penn State winning streak to 15 consecutive matches. Within the streak that dates back to 2007, the Nittany Lions have only lost two sets to Ohio State. Penn State also holds an 18-8 edge against Ohio State in matches played in Columbus.

* Penn State's .347 hitting percentage presently ranks first nationally and leads the Big Ten. Paced by two Penn State attackers who are hitting .362 or higher, senior Nia Grant leads the group with a .457 clip that ranks fourth nationally and first in the Big Ten. Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney rounds out the duo with a .362 attack percentage, which ranks seventh in the conference.

* Averaging 1.02 aces per set, senior Micha Hancock has once again secured herself as the nation's leader in the category for the seventh consecutive week. With more aces than anyone in the NCAA standings (82) in 2014, her career total (336) ranks first all-time in both the Big Ten and Penn State record books. As a team, Penn State is averaging 1.96 aces per set, which ranks second nationally and leads the conference.

* Penn State moved up one spot to No. 6 in the latest AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll after spending the last two consecutive weeks ranked seventh. Prior to the No. 7 positioning, Penn State spent one week ranked fifth.

* The Nittany Lions are among seven teams (Minnesota -RV) from the Big Ten to be featured in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll and one of three within the top 10.

TOUGH DEFENSE
Penn State has limited its opponents to .156 hitting this season, which is tied for first in the Big Ten standings. Penn State has held 17 teams to less than .200 hitting in 2014 and six between .200-.250. Only one team (Illinois/.315) has posted a .300 or better hitting clip.

The Nittany Lions held their first five consecutive Big Ten opponents to less than .200 hitting, limiting Minnesota to a Big Ten-match low .090 attacking percentage. Additionally, the Nittany Lions have improved their blocking average to 2.32 blocks per set, which ranks seventh in the Big Ten.

RECORD BOOK WATCH: Micha Hancock
With 31 assists, Hancock eclipsed the 5,000 career assists mark, making her the sixth Nittany Lion in program history to reach the milestone. With 5,010 all-time assists, she is the first to accomplish the feat since Alisha Glass (2006-09).

From the endline, Hancock's 83 aces on the year is just 30 shy of matching the Big Ten all-time single season record originally set by Minnesota's Sharon Oesterling in 1989.

SHE CAN DIG IT
Leading the team in digs in 19 of 24 matches this season, senior libero Dominique Gonzalez highlighted the 2014 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 three weeks ago, she presently leads the squad with 3.57 digs per frame, which ranks 12th in the Big Ten.

ROAD WARRIORS
In the Nittany Lions' third road trip of the season, Penn State collected a pair of wins to move to 5-1 on the road in Big Ten matches. Penn State topped then-No. 14 Purdue in a five-set thriller before sweeping past Indiana.

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.

HOT HITTING NITTANY LIONS
Senior Setter Micha Hancock has directed the Nittany Lions to a .347 hitting clip, which ranks first in the nation, while also leading the Big Ten. Hancock's also paced two top Nittany Lion attackers to .362 or better hitting, led by senior Nia Grant's .457 hitting clip, which ranks fourth nationally and leads the conference. Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney rounds out the pair with a .362 hitting percentage, which is slotted seventh in the Big Ten standings.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Including an 11-1 mark in 2014, Penn State owns a 557-33 (.944) all-time record at home in Rec Hall. Following two straight-set victories last weekend, the Nittany Lions improved to 253-18 (.934) all-time in Big Ten matches on the court in Rec Hall. Only Ohio State has defeated the Nittany Lions on their home court more than three times, having topped Penn State five times at home. 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 each year.

A CLEAN SWEEP
Penn State has earned 18 of 21 (86 percent) of its victories this season in straight sets. Within those 17 sweeps, Penn State 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 by way of a three-set decision.

WHAT'S NEXT?
Penn State returns home from the road to open a four-match homestand next week beginning with a pair of matchups against the Big Ten conference newcomers. The Nittany Lions welcome Rutgers Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. before hosting Maryland Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. Former Penn State assistant coach Steve Aird will also return to Rec Hall as he is in his first year at the helm of the Terps.

Last Updated October 31, 2014