The Penn State women’s volleyball team will get an early start to its next match in the NCAA tournament.
The No. 1 Nittany Lions will host Missouri at 2 p.m. Friday in Rec Hall in the regional semifinals. Penn State is in the regional semifinals for the 15th consecutive season, but is hosting matches in this round for the first time since 2010.
The early start allows for fewer matches played at the same time around the country, and more matches on TV. The first match of the day starts at noon, and the last of the eight matches is scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. The contest between the Tigers and Nittany Lions is one of four to be shown on ESPNU.
The Rec Hall regional will be dominated by the Big Ten, with the other semifinal slated for 4 p.m. to feature Michigan State and Illinois. The Spartans upset No. 9 seed Creighton, and the Illini surprised No. 8 Washington.
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The regional final is slated for 8 p.m. Saturday, also on ESPNU, with the winner advancing to the NCAA championship semifinals in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 14.
Penn State defeated Pittsburgh in four sets Saturday night to advance to the regional, while Missouri beat Wichita State. The Nittany Lions and Tigers last met on the court in 2006 at a tournament at Texas, and have only met once at Rec Hall — in 1987 — and in five contests all-time. However, Missouri has twice played NCAA regional matches at Rec Hall recently, losing to Duke in the regional semis in 2010 and to Tennessee in the regional finals in 2005, after the Volunteers upset Penn State the night before.
The Rec Hall regional is the only group among the four with multiple unseeded teams advancing. Only two other unseeded teams are among the 12 playing in the other three regionals.
According to a Penn State news release, all-session tickets are $16 if purchased in advance.