UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Another challenging season awaits the defending NCAA national champion Penn State women's volleyball team, as Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose has officially released the 2015 schedule.
This year's slate features matchups with seven teams that made the NCAA tournament in 2014, highlighted by Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge matches against Colorado and Stanford at home in Rec Hall during the non-conference portion of the schedule. In addition to the seven teams that competed in last year's post season tournament, a total of eight squads finished the season either ranked or receiving votes in the 2014 final AVCA DI Coaches Top 25 Poll.
"We are excited about the release of this year's schedule and we look forward to another great year in the Big Ten conference," Rose said.
For the third consecutive season, Penn State kicks off its 2015 campaign at home. The Nittany Lions welcome Buffalo (17-15), Stony Brook (17-15) and Villanova (13-20) to the court in Rec Hall for the Penn State Classic Friday, Aug. 28-29. The Bulls will arrive in Happy Valley under the direction of first-year head coach and former Nittany Lion, Blair Lipsitz (Brown), who helped Penn State to four consecutive NCAA titles from 2007-10.
Penn State remains at home the following week, hosting the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. The Nittany Lions open the weekend taking on Colorado (20-14) Friday, Sept. 4.
Penn State caps off the weekend with a marquee matchup against 2014 Pac-12 Champion Stanford (33-2). Penn State knocked the top-ranked Cardinal out of the tournament last year with a four-set victory in the national semifinals. Season ticket holders will have their season seats guaranteed for the matchup against the Cardinal, as well as the opportunity to purchase additional seats as part of an exclusive single match presale beginning July 14 at 10 a.m.
Penn State hits the road for the next two consecutive weeks, traveling to South Bend first for the Golden Dome Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame. The Nittany Lions square off against Eastern Kentucky (21-14) Friday, Sept. 11, before taking on both Mississippi State (7-26) and the tournament host Fighting Irish (6-23), Saturday, Sept. 12.
Penn State heads to the Sunshine State to close out the non-conference slate at an invitational hosted by South Florida. Penn State meets Auburn (13-18) Friday, Sept. 18, before matching up against both St. John's (19-14) and USF (17-15) Saturday, Sept. 19.
The Nittany Lions return home to open Big Ten competition in Rec Hall, welcoming 2014 Big Ten Champion Wisconsin (31-3) for the lone meeting of the season between the two teams Friday, Sept. 23. The Nittany Lions topped Wisconsin in the 2014 Louisville regional finals before advancing to the final four a year ago. Penn State then closes out the week, hosting Minnesota (19-12) Saturday, Sept. 16.
Penn State wraps up its four-match Big Ten home stand the following week, hosting Nebraska (23-1) Friday, Oct. 2 and Iowa (14-17) Saturday, Oct. 3. Penn State swept past the Huskers in front of a sold out crowd in the 2014 regular season home finale.
The Nittany Lions take their first Big Ten road trip Friday, Oct. 9, heading to Illinois (26-8) and Northwestern (16-15) Saturday, Oct. 10. Penn State returns home to host Indiana (15-17) Friday, Oct. 16 and Purdue (22-10) Saturday, Oct. 17 before hitting the road for a three-match roadswing. On the road, Penn State travels to Michigan (13-17) for a midweek match Wednesday, Oct. 21 before taking on Michigan State (19-14) Saturday, Oct. 24 in East Lansing.
The Nittany Lions meet their second consecutive 2014 NCAA tournament team on the road in the first match of its annual home-and-away series at Ohio State (23-12). Penn State takes on the Buckeyes two days later at home Friday, Oct. 30.
Penn State then hits the road for four consecutive matches, making stops at Maryland (10-21) and Rutgers (7-26) Nov. 5-6, before meeting Iowa and Minnesota for the second time Wednesday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 14, respectively.
Penn State concludes its home portion of the schedule with three straight matches in Rec Hall, hosting Michigan Wednesday, Nov. 18, Maryland, Nov. 21 and Northwestern, Wednesday, Nov. 25. The Nittany Lions travel to Nebraska Saturday, Nov. 28 for its 2015 regular season finale.
Reserved season tickets for the 2015 season are now available. Season ticket packages are priced at $84 for adults and $56 for youth ages 12 and under. If you are a current season ticket holder, visit www.GoPSUsports.com/accountmanger to log into your account and renew your seats or call 1-800-NITTANY, with the deadline set for Friday, June 19.