Women's Volleyball Weekend Preview

Cari Greene/BSD

Russ Rose and his Travelin' Band of Lean, Mean, Volleyball Playin' Machines host the first round of the NCAA Tournament in State College

It's a huge weekend for the Penn State women's volleyball team, as it starts its run at a 6th national title in program history. Luckily, the games this weekend will be played in Rec Hall, which should give the ladies a homecourt advantage over LIU Brooklyn and (hopefully) either Utah or Yale.

Let's break down all three potential opponents with all the music videos, CAPS LOCK, and general inappropriateness that you expect from my sick, twisted brain.

Long Island University - Brooklyn

LIUB got into the tournament by winning the Northeastern Conference. They have a 23-7 record on the season, which is nice, but the conference kind of sucks, and the team's out of conference record was a paltry 9-7. LIUB played four high-major teams this season: Duke (lost 0-3), Florida (lost 1-3), Maryland (lost 0-3), and Oklahoma (lost 1-3). NO BUENO.

The squad has two stars: opposite hitter Annika Foit and outside hitter Tamara Ignjic. The two have combined for 711 of the team's 1,397 kills. Which is nice. However, the two of them are under 6'0" tall. In fact, LIUB only has three players over 6'0" tall, and they are 6'3", 6'1", and 6'1". They're a small team, and I think Penn State's squad, which will probably look like the Monstars by comparison, will swarm them.

I think Penn State romps Long Island Brooklyn, and three Blackbirds are killed by Micha Hancock's serve.

Utah

JEAH MORMONS. Does anyone else think we need to send Charles Barkley to Utah? I feel like that would be two worlds colliding and it would be beautiful. Also, has anyone seen "Book of Mormon"? This song is great and I desperately want to see it.

Back to volleyball. Unlike LIU Brooklyn, Utah was actually worse in its conference, which isn't too shocking, because the Pac 12 is stacked. The squad went (Devon) 20-12 on the year, and went 9-11 in its conference. Like every 6 seed in NFL history, Utah beat the teams it was supposed to beat, but were unable to play up to its competition. Basically, they're like the Houston Texans prior to this year.

Utah is very balanced, with four players with at least 286 kills and six with at least 187. It also, surprisingly, didn't have a single All-Conference selection, but middle blocker Erin Redd-Brandon was an honorable mention, so that's cool. The team compensates for its lack of star power with depth, which would be good...if Penn State wasn't loaded.

I think Utah would be a much better matchup for PSU due to its size and balance, but Penn State is just too talented for the Utes...I'm sorry, YOUUUUUUTHSSSSSS. The Nittany Lions should be able to overpower Utah.

Yale

CALL UP GALEN, WE GOT A FORMER FOE. The two sides met up in September, and Penn State destroyed Yale, 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-6). While Yale has gotten better -- it has lost one match since then to finish 20-4 on the season -- so has Penn State.

You know Penn State has a big win when Russ Rose goes deep into his bench, which is what he did against Yale. I'd do a long write up, but here's all you need to know: when the two sides met up in September, Penn State had an advantage in kills (54-23), kill percentage (.427 percent to .088 percent), assists (44-21), service aces (44-21), digs (45-31), and blocks (2-0). In fact, the only "advantage" that Yale had was that they committed more errors than Penn State, "winning" that battle 15-10.

I see no reason why that wouldn't happen again. Penn State's stacked, Yale isn't, and the Nittany Lions are motivated to get another title. Also, Yale was where the judge from My Cousin Vinny went to school, and he was a dick. Lots of My Cousin Vinny jokes today, folks.

Long story short, if Penn State lost to any of these teams, it would be a monumental upset. I fully expect the Nittany Lion to play next weekend.

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