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Penn State Women's Volleyball Back Atop National Poll

by on September 25, 2012 6:52 AM

The Penn State women’s volleyball brand is respected all over the world.

The 2012 United States Olympic team had three Penn Staters on the roster: Christa Harmotto (class of 2008) and Megan Hodge (class of 2009) and Alisha Glass (class of 2009). Harmotto finished her collegiate career with back-to-back national championships while Hodge and Glass finished with a three-peat.

The Nittany Lions have been a national powerhouse for years, with four consecutive national championships from 2007-2010. However, in 2011 the team’s record was 25-8. It’s been two years since its last NCAA championship and the Penn State women are looking to regain their title.

Their record overall is 12-1 and 2-0 in conference play so far this season. They defeated No. 3 Nebraska (3-1) on Sept. 19 in Rec Hall in front of a roaring home crowd. The squad even battled back after losing the first set to win the next two, then again from a tough 9-1 deficit in the beginning of the fourth set.

Penn State found itself atop the national poll this week, securing 34 first-place votes to edge No. 2 Oregon, unbeaten after 11 matches.

Said junior Deja McClendon: “We needed to play as a team and get a great win like [Nebraska]. It restores our hope, I think.”

The hope that McClendon was referring to helped the Nittany Lions beat the University of Iowa, 3-1, in another Big Ten Conference showdown on Sept. 22 in Rec Hall.

This year the Nittany Lions look to prove their dominance in the Big Ten and also nationally.

"That should be enough motivation for the players to get themselves together and be ready to go," coach Russ Rose said after the win against Nebraska. "If the players get themselves together and do what they're supposed to do then maybe we have a shot."

Said junior Katie Slay: “Every game counts toward the Big Ten championship and that’s definitely our goal so we have to play hard every night.”

This is a young, talented volleyball team. The Nittany Lions have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with. The bunch have its eyes set on being in the No. 1 spot on Dec. 13 in the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., the home the NCAA volleyball championship this year.

The Nittany Lions only have two seniors on the team, so it looks as if the Penn State women’s volleyball dynasty will be present for years to come.

Dakota DeBellis is a student at Penn State and an intern for covering local news and events.
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