Penn State Women's Volleyball: 2013 Non-Conference Preview

Cari Greene

A look at Penn State's schedule, which includes a terrifying stretch of games early on.

14-18.

That was the overall record of the one non-conference team, Oregon State, that beat the women's volleyball team last year. No. I'm serious.

The Beavers (not the movie starring Mel Gibson) were 5-2 going into their matchup with the Nittany Lions, and actually went a very respectable 10-2 out of conference. Of course, their record in the Pac Ten Twelve was terrifying, but regardless.

Now, why am I going on about the team's loss last year to Oregon State? Easy, to show that even though Penn State is freakishly loaded, they're prone to upsets just like everyone else.

With that in mind, let's look at the team's non-conference schedule in 2013.

Unlike last year, which wasn't exactly the toughest non-con ever aside from two or three games (unless you're intimidated by teams from DePaul, Morehead State, Oregon State, Portland and Duqane), this year's schedule is loaded.

The Nittany Lions start their schedule with an exhibition at home against Poland, which apparently has a national volleyball team, before a brutal stretch of Syracuse (who kinda sucks), #19 Louisville, at #1 Texas, #9 Florida (neutral), and Marquette (neutral). The last four squads all made it to the NCAA Tournament last year: Louisville lost in the first round, Marquette in the second, Florida in the third, and Texas winning the national title.

If the team can navigate that schedule undefeated, it's hard to find a game that they should lose. Their remaining schedule looks like this: Central Arkansas (neutral), at Dunk City, Albany, Eastern Kentucky, and Yale all at home. None of those teams are ranked, and they have received as many votes to be in the top 25 as you have, so pat yourself on the back!

Odds are the Nittany Lions will lose once or twice. While the team is insane this season, that Louisville/Texas/Florida/Marquette stretch is brutal. Luckily, it's early in the season, and they have five cupcakes before they start their conference schedule, which is terrifying -- six Big Ten teams (not including PSU) are ranked in the top-25, with three teams other than Penn State in the top ten. Cari will handle that tomorrow, SO STAY TUNED.


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