Penn State Volleyball Earns No. 13 Seed In NCAA Tournament

Penn State women’s volleyball earned the No. 13 overall seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament after securing one of 18 at-large selections Sunday.

The Nittany Lions will play the winner of Rice and North Carolina A&T in the second round on April 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET. The Owls also earned an at-large bid, while the Aggies won the MEAC to punch their ticket.

Penn State is the only team to make all 40 NCAA tournaments since its debut in 1981 following Stanford’s first omission from the field this spring. The entire tournament will be held at the CHI Health Center Arena in Omaha, Nebraska, and will feature 48 teams instead of the usual 64, including 30 automatic qualifiers.

Penn State is among six Big Ten teams to make the postseason — the most of any conference — joining Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, and Ohio State. The Nittany Lions haven’t played since a March 20 sweep of Michigan State after their series against the Badgers and Cornhuskers were canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Jonni Parker led the Nittany Lions with 165 kills during a 9-5 regular season, while Jenna Hampton paced Penn State’s defense with 160 digs after taking over as the team’s libero. Freshman outside hitter AC Fitzpatrick has put together a strong debut season with 138 kills, 113 digs, and a team-high 15 aces so far.

Five former Penn State players are coaching in this year’s tournament, including Alyssa D’Errico (Dayton), Megan Shifflett Bachmann (Towson), Arielle Wilson (Georgia Tech), Nicole Fawcett (Ohio State), and Katie Schumacher-Cawley, who is in her third season as a Penn State assistant coach.

Russ Rose has the most NCAA tournament wins of any Division I volleyball coach with a record of 104-32 and seven national championships. Rose reached 1,300 career wins in Penn State’s season opener against Illinois.