DigNittany Preview: Buffalo

Rec Hall Welcomes Lions
Rec Hall Welcomes Lions


The Penn State Women’s Volleyball team returns to Rec Hall to host the Nittany Lion Invitational, facing off against Buffalo on Friday and Robert Morris and Pittsburgh on Saturday. 

DigNittanyVolleyball thinks fans should follow the lead of the Nittany Lion and . . . . 

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Time and Place: September 4, 2009, 7:00 p.m. ET. 

Media Coverage: The match will be available on GameTracker 

The Skinny: University of Buffalo 

The University of Buffalo Women’s Volleyball team hadn’t won on opening day since 2005. Not only did they win their opener this season, they won two out of three matches to walk off with the championship in the University at Buffalo Invitational. It was a weekend of firsts, as the Bulls opened the tournament with a 3-0 sweep of Boston College, their first win over an ACC opponent since 2003, followed by a five-set victory over Fordham on Saturday. The Bulls cooled down in the final match, a 3-0 loss to Seton Hall, but still won the tournament. 

Tori Beckman
Tori Beckman

Darcy – Meet Tori 

The Bulls have their own Freshman phenom — 5-7 DS Tori Beckman, who was named the Most Valuable Player at the Buffalo Invitational. Beckman averaged 21 digs per match, with seven assists and one service ace. 

Other key players for Buffalo include Senior Dani Silvers (6-0 OH/MB) and 6-2 redshirt Junior MB Kelsey Lueders, both of whom were named to the Buffalo Invitational All-Tournament team, 5-10 Senior Libero Lauren Fensten, 6-3 Junior MB Kristin Bignell, and 5-10 Junior Setter Lindsey Schlegel. Silvers led the Bulls with 39 kills in the three matches and a .304 hitting mark, and totaled five total blocks on the week. Lueders had 28 kills, hit .297, and added two service aces and five total blocks. 

The Skinny: Penn State 

Penn State went 3-0 over the weekend in the Active Ankle Challenge, defeating Miami University 3-0, Alabama 3-0, and, after a nail-biting first set (29-27), St. Louis University 3-0 in front of a crowd of 6,000+. 

Senior OH Megan Hodge is leading Penn State with 4.11 kills/set, followed by Freshman OH Darcy Dorton (3.67 k/set) and Junior MH Arielle Wilson (1.67 k/set). Junior MH Fatima Balza leads in blocks with 1.50/set, with Arielle Wilson next at 1.33/set. Senior Setter Alisha Glass is averaging 11.44 assists/set, with Junior Alyssa D’Errico averaging 4.33 digs/set, Megan Hodge 3.56 digs/set, and Alisha Glass 2.44 digs/set. 

The Head Coaches 

Buffalo: Todd Kress
Todd Kress, who was the head coach at Florida State from 2002-2007, is beginning his first year as head coach of the Bulls. Kress has a career record of 255-156 in 14 years as a head coach at the Division I level. In addition to Florida State, Kress served as head coach at Northern Illinois from 1999-02. 

Penn State: Russ Rose 

In an interview with Bill Landis posted on thedailycollegianonline, Russ Rose praised the the Nittany Lions for handling the pressure of the 6000+ crowd at the St. Louis match. 

“To play in front of 6,000 people is something that you can never really replicate in practice. . . . So you never really know much about your team until you’re placed into a situation like that. I wouldn’t say we’re anywhere near where we were last year, but certainly we received some great performances.” 

Rose acknowledged that the team needs to improve its serving (Penn State totaled 13 service aces over the weekend but accumulated 20 service errors), but told Landis, in an interview posted today on thedailycollegianonline, that “Part of our serving numbers were skewed by the fact that most teams struggle at the beginning of the year with passing.”