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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Earns No. 13 Seed in NCAA Tournament

As the No. 13 national seed, Penn State women’s volleyball will receive a first-round bye to open this year’s NCAA Tournament.

The Nittany Lions will face the winner of Rice (16-5) and North Carolina A&T (11-1) in the 48-team tournament’s second round at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, April 15, in Omaha, Nebraska, the NCAA announced on Sunday.

Six Big Ten teams appear in this year’s bracket, including No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 3 Minnesota, and No. 5 Nebraska. Purdue and Ohio State also qualified and earned the No. 7 and 9 national seeds, respectively.

Head coach Russ Rose led Penn State to a 9-5 record throughout the regular season, which featured only Big Ten teams. Right side hitter Jonni Parker paced the team with 165 kills, while libero Jenna Hampton led Penn State with 160 digs on the season.

Penn State should be able to get healthy in time for the start of tournament. The Nittany Lions’ final series against Wisconsin and Nebraska were both canceled due to an undisclosed number of COVID-19 cases within the program. As a result, Penn State hasn’t played since March 20.

Penn State owns a 104-32 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play with seven national championships — the second-most titles in NCAA Division I history. The Nittany Lions trail only Stanford, which won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019 to bring its all-time championship collection to nine.

Surprisingly, Stanford missed out on the tournament following a 2-8 regular season that saw six series get canceled. Now, Penn State is the only team to appear in every NCAA Tournament dating back to the very first in 1981.

In 2019, Penn State advanced to the tournament’s Elite Eight once again but fell to Stanford in a sweep. The No. 11-seeded Nittany Lions defeated Princeton, Towson and Cincinnati to make the regional finals.

This year’s entire tournament will take place in Omaha. You can check out the full 48-team bracket here.