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Russ and the Girls Set to Take on UCLA in NCAA Sweet 16

Serving off at 5p at Memorial Colesium in Lexington, KY, the No. 8 seeded Penn State women's volleyball team will take on the No. 9 seeded UCLA Bruins in a tough match for a young team. The match can be "seen" on

The Nittany Lions cruised through Liberty and Delaware in straight sets to make it to the regional semi-finals, and now face their first challenge on the quest for a five-peat. UCLA dropped UMES (Maryland-East Shore) in straight sets, but dropped a set before finishing off San Diego last weekend.

The other regional matchup pits top-ranked Texas against the hometown Kentucky Wildcats, and will take place shortly after the PSU-UCLA match ends. Stats, players, and some quality DigNittanyVolleyball analysis after the jump.

Penn State women's volleyball fans historically travel well, so seeing a crowd of Nittany Lions fans won't be too much of a surprise tonight. However, there will be some in attendance that will have traveled minutes away to watch one very special player. Front court star Deja McClendon is from the Louisville area, and is excited to play in-front of friends and family on such a large stage.

"It’s so nice," said McClendon, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter. "It’s nice to know that we’ll have support there. A lot of my graduating class and my family (will be there). I’m sure they’ll bring a whole crew down to Lexington."

McClendon, along with teammates Katie Slay and Ariel Scott, was recently named to the AVCA Mideast Region All-Region team. Another AVCA award winner was Micha Hancock, server and setter to the stars, who took home Rookie Freshman of the Year honors. Hancock, who is second in the country in aces per set and averages just under 10.5 assists per set, will be crucial to a PSU victory.

DigNittanyVolleyball, as per usual, has a great preview, some solid stat analysis, and the press conference recaps.

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