Each Thursday we'll provide a few thoughts on the Penn State women's volleyball team and its weekend ahead.
1. More important than winning for the Penn State women's volleyball team this weekend is figuring out a consistent lineup. The team is seven games into the season and still doesn't have a set lineup. In the Lions' last match against Texas, coach Russ Rose played 14 players. Rose is hoping for some of those players to consistently step up and help the team, but not many have locked down a spot yet. This is the last weekend of nonconference play, and it's therefore the Lions last chance to figure out a lineup before Big Ten matches start to really count against the team.
2. This weekend is also a chance for the team to develop chemistry, especially with freshman setter Micha Hancock. The team's communication has been lacking recently, with balls being passed to open spots on the court and a lack of decisiveness defensively. The Lions' hitters also haven't entirely adjusted to Hancock's setting style, nor has Hancock completely adjusted to her hitters. Playing against unranked teams this weekend may be just the opportunity the squad needs to develop chemistry without the pressure to be at their absolute best on every point.
3. The Lions have been playing away since their comeback win against No. 2 USC in the second match of the season. In that match, the Rec Hall crowd was the loudest crowd Rose said he's ever seen. But now, the Lions are 4-3 and have lost two in a row. It will be interesting to see if the home support continues despite the team's slow start.