A long awaited homecoming is in store for No. 8 Penn State this weekend, as the Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall to take on a pair of Big Ten teams in Indiana and Purdue.
While the upcoming weekend is primarily a chance for the Nittany Lions to plant the seeds of a new win streak after a heartbreaking loss to No. 7 Nebraska last week, it is also a cause for celebration.
Nov. 8 and 9 have been officially named “Senior Weekend” for the team, and the entire Penn State women’s volleyball community will come together to celebrate the group of five seniors who have graced Rec Hall with their presence over the course of the last four years.
“It will be nice to honor the seniors, and hopefully send them out on a positive note here,” assistant coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley said. “They’ve been a great group to be around, and they definitely give their very best to Penn State and to Penn State volleyball. I’m excited to see what their future holds, and want them to enjoy what they have left in their college career.”
Unranked Indiana, the first opponent of the weekend, is 1-11 in conference play and hasn’t won a match in over a month.
The Hoosiers are seventh in the Big Ten in blocks, the only statistic they lead Penn State in.
The two teams have not faced off yet this year, but the last time they played in October 2018, the Nittany Lions won swiftly in three sets.
No. 15 Purdue, on the other hand, will be the real test of the weekend.
Purdue boasts a 15-6 record on the season but is coming off a loss last weekend to No. 6 Minnesota.
The Boilermakers are are first in the Big Ten in blocks, and fourth in the conference in service aces.
Purdue’s blocking prowess will definitely come into play against the Nittany Lions’ high octane offense, and a constant battle at the net is to be expected.
The Boilermakers also have a few noteworthy wins on their resume, with the main spotlight falling on the team’s win against a Nebraska team that just beat Penn State.
Purdue split 1-1 with Nebraska this year and shocked the national volleyball landscape two weeks ago with a win over the Huskers in a five set match that went right down to the wire.
With both Penn State and Purdue coming off of high profile losses, look for a high intensity match, with both sides eager to stay relevant in the national scene.
Penn State will play against Indiana at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and against Purdue at 7 p.m. on Saturday, both matches taking place in Rec Hall.