The Penn State women’s volleyball team will be home this weekend and seeded after all.
When the bracket was announced Sunday night, the Nittany Lions drew the No. 16 seed and will host the first two rounds at Rec Hall.
Penn State (22-9) will meet Long Island University-Brooklyn (16-14) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. LIU-Brooklyn is the Northeast Conference champions.
The first match of the evening will see Dayton (30-1) and Pittsburgh (24-8) at 5 p.m. The winners will meet at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Rec Hall.
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Penn State, which has won a record seven national titles with the last in 2014, and No. 6 seed Stanford are the only programs to make each of the 36 NCAA tournaments.
There was a risk the Nittany Lions might not have a home match in the tournament for the first time since 1989. The team has piled up the most losses in a season since 1987.
Penn State and LIU will meet in the postseason for the fifth time since 2005, with the Lions sweeping the Blackbirds each time. The last was in 2013. The 2005 match was a second-round meeting, while the others came in the opening round.
Penn State also has faced Dayton in each of the last two tournaments, with a 3-0 sweep in 2014 and a 3-1 Nittany Lion win last season. Pitt is in the bracket for the first time since 2004.
Should Penn State advance, it could likely meet No. 1 seed Nebraska, the Big Ten and defending national champion, in the regional semifinals in Lincoln on Dec. 9.
No. 8 Washington and No. 9 Michigan State are the other seeded teams in the Nittany Lions’ regional draw.
Along with No. 12 Michigan, the Big Ten had the tournament’s top three seeds with the Cornhuskers, No. 2 Minnesota and No. 3 Wisconsin for six of the 16 seeded teams. In all, eight Big Ten schools made the 64-team field.
A pair of State College graduates also will get a taste of the tournament. North Carolina, with outside hitter Taylor Leath, is the No. 7 seed and will meet High Point in the first round. Iowa State, with setter Suzanne Horner, will battle Purdue in the opener.
The NCAA semifinals and finals will be held in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 15-17.