The Penn State Women’s Volleyball team opens its 2019 season tonight at 7:30 p.m. Rec Hall, facing off against Hofstra, which won last year’s Colonial Athletic Association Championship. Here are match notes from Penn State and Hofstra for tonight’s contest (with links to Live Stats and BTN+ video — note that it is available by subscription (though sometimes Penn State waives that for opening weekend matches):
Hofstra vs. Penn State
Penn State Notes:
SEASON OPENERS The Nittany Lions are 34-6 in season opening matches under head coach Russ Rose. During that stretch, they have defeated 29 different teams from 13 conferences. They have won seven consecutive season-opening matches, with the last loss coming to Oregon in 2011.
NATIONALLY RANKED Penn State opens the 2019 season as the No. 8 ranked team in the nation according to the AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Nittany Lions came in at No. 8 behind Stanford, Nebraska, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kentucky. The Big Ten made up 50 percent of the top 10 teams. Also representing the Big Ten in the poll were Michigan at No. 15 and Purdue at No. 17,
PRESEASON HONORS Three Penn State players were voted to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Senior Kendall White was a unanimous selection. She was joined on the team by sophomores Jonni Parker and Kaitlyn Hord. All three players were AVCA AllAmericans and All-Big Ten honorees last season.
FOUR ALL-AMERICANS ON THE ROSTER Penn State returns four of its six AllAmericans from last season, including two-time honoree Kendall White. The senior libero was a first-team selection as a junior and made the second team as a sophomore. Jonni Parker was a third-team All-American last year, while Kaitlyn Hord and Serena Gray were honorable mentions following their rookie seasons last year.
The match-up with Penn State will mark the first time since 2006 that the Pride has opened the season against a ranked opponent, as Hofstra faced #20 San Diego that season. In addition, it will mark the first meeting with Penn State since the Pride and the Nittany Lions battled for four sets at the Syracuse Tournament in 2016.
Hofstra returns nine players and three starters from last year’s Colonial Athletic Association Championship squad. Two of them, seniors 6-0 Sr. OH Laura Masciullo and 5-10 Sr. Setter Luisa Sydlik, were recently honored by the conference with a spot on the preseason All-CAA squad. In addition, Masciullo was named the preseason CAA Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. As a team, Hofstra was picked second in the preseason coaches poll.
Hofstra is 0-7 all-time against Penn State, 0-1 against Wichita State and 0-1 versus Holy Cross. The meeting with the Shockers was in 1998, while the Pride faced the Crusaders in 2013.
Hofstra went 25-8 a season ago and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history after capturing its fourth CAA title. The Pride will open the 2019 campaign on Friday, August 30 when it travels to University Park, Pennsylvania to face #8 Penn State in their opening match at the Penn State Classic.