Two meetings with the defending national champions highlight the fall schedule for the Penn State women’s volleyball team, which the university announced Monday.
The Nittany Lions will face Stanford in different tournaments on back-to-back weekends as the team spends its first three weeks on the road. After the Cardinal won the title last season, the two programs now share the NCAA record with seven national championships apiece, and they are the only programs to have made the field for all 36 NCAA Division I tournaments.
The Lions and Cardinal first meet Sept. 1 at Texas A&M’s tournament. Penn State and the host Aggies meet Sept. 2. The following weekend, Illinois will host the Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge, with the Nittany Lions facing Colorado on Sept. 8 before the rematch with Stanford on Sept. 9. The Cardinal are now coached by former Fighting Illini leader Kevin Hambley, taking over for the retired John Dunning.
Penn State, which returns every starter from last season’s 24-10 campaign, begins the season Aug. 25 by facing Tennessee-Martin at West Virginia’s tournament. The Lions will meet Delaware and the host Mountaineers the next day.
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The home opener is Sept. 15 against Yale, which is led by former Nittany Lion assistant coach Erin Appleman. Wake Forest and Ohio visit the next day in the Penn State Classic to close the non-conference schedule.
The Big Ten schedule begins Sept. 22 at Rec Hall with a visit from defending Big Ten champion Nebraska. It is the only scheduled contest between the rivals this season. Games against Iowa (Sept. 23), Illinois (Sept. 29) and Northwestern (Sept. 30) complete a seven-game homestand. Other home matches include Michigan State (Oct. 13), Michigan (Oct. 14), Wisconsin (Oct. 25), Rutgers (Nov. 4), Maryland (Nov. 11) and Indiana (Nov. 15).
Other conference road matches include Ohio State (Oct. 6), Maryland (Oct. 7), Purdue (Oct. 20), Indiana (Oct. 21), Illinois (Oct. 28), Michigan State (Nov. 1), Iowa (Nov. 8), Rutgers (Nov. 18) and Wisconsin (Nov. 24). The regular season concludes with the only meeting with final four participant Minnesota, in Minneapolis on Nov. 25.