DigNittanyPreview: Robert Morris

Here’s Dig Nittany Volleyball’s preview of Saturday’s Women’s Volleyball match between Penn State and Robert Morris University:

Time and Place: September 5, 2009, 10:00 a.m. ET.

Media Coverage: The match will be available on GameTracker

The Skinny: Robert Morris University

Although Robert Morris University (3-2) was swept on Tuesday by the undefeated (5-0) Cleveland State Vikings (25-13,25-15,25-15), the Colonials are off to a promising start in the 2009 season. They finished with a 3-1 record in the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational, capturing the top Northeast Conference weekly awards: 6-2 Junior MB Amanda Graham (47 kills, a .408 hitting percentage and 17 blocks for the weekend) was named NEC Player of the Week and 5-11 Freshman Opp. Amanda Craig (37 kills, 29 digs, and 11 assists) won NEC Rookie of the Week. Other key contributors for the Colonials are 5-10 Senior OH/Opp. Jessy Nelko, 5-11 Junior OH Charla Drabant, 6-0 Junior MB Jaye Hellmich, 5-6 Freshman DS Nicole Wiechecki, and 5-6 Junior DS Corinne Moser.

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

Robert Morris: Rob Thomas

Coach Rob Thomas is in his seventh season as head coach of the Robert Morris University Women’s Volleyball team. Last season, Thomas led the Colonials to 19-10 overall record (8-0 in the Northeast Conference), earning the Colonials their first regular-season NEC title since 2004 and Thomas his second award as NEC Coach of the Year.

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 that “Part of our serving numbers were skewed by the fact that most teams struggle at the beginning of the year with passing.”