Women's volleyball releases 2016 schedule

May 23, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State women's volleyball Hall of Fame head coach Russ Rose has announced yet another challenging schedule for the Nittany Lions heading into the 2016 season.

Penn State is set to meet 10 teams that competed in last year's NCAA tournament, as well as nine squads ranked within the AVCA DI Coaches Top 25 Final Poll. This year's slate also features matchups against 12 opponents recording 20 or more wins during the 2015 season.

For the fourth straight year, Penn State opens the 2016 campaign at home. The Nittany Lions welcome a southern slate to Rec Hall for the Penn State Classic Aug. 26-27, hosting Georgia Southern (10-19), West Virginia (5-24) and UNC (21-10) during the first week of non-conference play.

"I think the key [to non-conference schedule planning] is to try and have an opportunity for your team to play some matches at home and on the road," Rose said. "This year because we're playing the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Colorado, I wanted to make sure we have something at home the first weekend."

Penn State hits the road the following week to head to Boulder, Colorado, Sept. 3-4 for the third year of the rotating Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. The Nittany Lions will square off against both Colorado (19-13) and Stanford (23-7) during a weekend packed full of tough matchups. Penn State is 3-1 in the four-year rotating tournament, having recorded back-to-back straight set wins against the Buffs and the Cardinal at home in Rec Hall a year ago.

The Nittany Lions remain on the road the following week, traveling to Syracuse, New York, for the Syracuse Classic Sept. 9-10. In addition to meeting the Orange (23-8) for the second time in three years during the non-conference portion of the season, Penn State will also square off against Siena (16-13) and Hofstra (21-11).

Penn State returns home from the road for the final weekend of non-conference play, hosting Rhode Island (20-9) Howard (18-13) and Clemson (6-26) Sept. 16-17 in the Penn State Invitational. The Nittany Lions most recently knocked the Bison out of the 2015 NCAA tournament, sweeping past Howard in the NCAA first round last year.

The Nittany Lions open the Big Ten portion of the schedule on the road at Rutgers (4-28) in a midweek matchup set for Wednesday, Sept. 21 in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Nittany Lions will wrap up the first week of conference action on the road at Northwestern (14-17) in a rare Sunday outing set for Sept. 25.

Big Ten home contests during the 2016 season include matchups against RV Michigan State (19-14), No. 24 Michigan (20-13), No. 3 Minnesota (30-5) Rutgers, No. 13 Ohio State (25-10), No. 1 Nebraska (32-4), Iowa (12-21), No. 17 Purdue (23-10), Northwestern and No. 15 Illinois (21-13).

Penn State will also complete a home-and-home series with dates on the road at Rutgers, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Nebraska.

The Nittany Lions will only meet Indiana (16-16), Maryland (15-19) and Wisconsin (26-7) once during conference play with all three matches scheduled on the road. Additionally, Penn State is only set to play Michigan State, Iowa and Illinois once at home, with the Illini scheduled at home in Rec Hall for the regular season finale Saturday, Nov. 26.

Including Penn State, a total of nine teams competed in the 2015 NCAA tournament, with five squads earning top-16 seeds. Six Big Ten teams advanced to the NCAA regionals with Minnesota reaching the NCAA tournament national semifinals and Nebraska winning the NCAA national championship.

"The Big Ten schedule is always kind of uniquely kind of put together because you can't guarantee anything when you're dealing with 14 teams and 20 matches," Rose said. "Certainly the success of the Big Ten last year with two teams in the final four and Nebraska winning the national championship, I'd expect the Big Ten to be as strong as it's ever been."

Penn State is set to return five starters return for the 2016 season, including AVCA All-Americans Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Illinois) and Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado), who also earned CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades this fall.

Reserved season tickets for the 2016 season are now available. New season ticket packages are priced at $84 and are available with a $50 deposit. Current season ticket holders can renew seats by visiting www.GoPSUsports.com/accountmanager and logging into your account.

Fans may also renew or place a deposit for season tickets by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by stopping by the Athletic Ticket Office at the Bryce Jordan Center, Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. 2016 season ticket renewals are underway with a deadline date of July 1. Single match tickets will go on sale at a later date.

All dates are subject to change with television information to be announced at a later date.

Last Updated May 26, 2016