For Penn State fans, it's that time of year. It's time to put down those holiday decorations, procrastinate on the Christmas shopping and sit down to watch some volleyball.
Three-time defending national champion Penn State will take on Texas at
6:30 7:00 tonight in Kansas City, Missouri in a rematch of last year's national title game.The match will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Faces have changed for both teams since last year's epic, five set thriller in Tampa. For Penn State, gone are stars Alisha Glass and Megan Hodge. For Texas, star Destinee Hooker, a player who dominated against Penn State last season, has departed as well.
In their place, some new faces have risen into the fray. Freshman Deja McClendon has stepped in at outside hitter and impressed. She was recently named AVCA Freshman of the Year and a second team All-American. She finished second on the team to Blair Brown this season with 391 kills and a .328 kill percentage. Another freshman, middle hitter Katie Slay, led the Nittany Lions in blocks per set with 1.52. Finally, sophomore Kristin Carpenter has been sensational setting up teammates this year with a mind-blowing 1287 assists.
And of course, the established stars of the team have been great in leading Penn State to a 30-5 record so far. Senior outside hitter Blair Brown led the team with 491 kills and posted a .323 kill percentage. Fellow senior and middle hitter Arielle Wilson finished with a sensational .415 kill percentage and 316 kills. Both were recently named AVCA first team All-Americans.
In Penn State's last loss at Minnesota a few weeks ago, the Golden Gophers attacked the middle of the Penn State formation and libero Cathy Qualico. Look for Texas to try to exploit this weakness, if it is one at all, as the Horns try to get revenge for last season's loss in the championship game.
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