ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball has been voted the Big Ten's preseason favorite in the 2015 Big Ten Preseason Poll, released by the conference on Aug. 13. The No. 1 ranking marks the 10th time in the last 11 seasons the Nittany Lions have been picked to win the league.
Penn State is also well represented on the Preseason All-Big Ten team, with more selections than any other Big Ten program. 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Haleigh Washington highlights Penn State's four preseason All-Big Ten honorees as a unanimous selection. Redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney, senior Megan Courtney and sophomore Ali Frantti round out the group.
Courtney earns her third consecutive preseason All-Big Ten honor after highlighting the 2014 season with the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player award. Her career-high 23 kills and 16 digs in the NCAA national semifinals powered Penn State past top-ranked Stanford to the title-match against BYU. She started all 39 matches last year and finished second on the team with 2.34 digs per set and third on the squad with 2.44 kills per set.
Whitney picks up her first conference preseason award, having earned second team AVCA All-America honors during the 2014 season. A 2014 All-Big Ten honorable mention, she finished second on the team with 2.95 kills per set, while her .353 hitting percentage closed out the year ranked fifth in the Big Ten final standings.
Frantti earns her first Big Ten preseason award after completing a standout season in her first year in the Blue and White. The 2014 AVCA DI National Freshman of the Year also earned second team AVCA All-America honors. Other accolades include All-Big Ten honorable mention distinction and a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten freshman team. She led the team with 3.20 kills per set, totaling 391 kills, which ranked ninth in the Big Ten end of year rankings.
Washington also garners her first Big Ten preseason award following a terrific rookie season. The All-Big Ten honoree was also a unanimous selection to the conference's freshman team. In 25 appearances on the court last year, she averaged 2.63 kills per set, while also amassing 96 blocks. Her .463 hitting clip also finished the year ranked first on the team.
The Nittany Lions kick off the 2015 season at home, hosting the Penn State Classic Aug. 28-29. Penn State opens the tournament taking on Buffalo at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 in Rec Hall.
Both single-match and season tickets for the 2015 Penn State women's volleyball season are on sale and available for purchase. Nittany Lion fans also have the option to purchase a five-game partial ticket package featuring tickets to the Stanford (9/5), Minnesota (9/26), Iowa (10/3), Ohio State (10/30), and Maryland (11/21) matches.