Penn State Finishes Up Much-Criticized Preseason Schedule

Many women’s volleyball fans have criticized Penn State’s preseason schedule as heavy on the dessert (“cupcakes” is an oft-used word to describe many of the preseason opponents) and light on quality opponents. DigNittanyVolleyball agrees the pre-season schedule isn’t as tough as some teams’ schedules, but doesn’t believe Penn State “ducked” playing tough opponents: You can’t schedule a team unless it agrees to play you.

As Russ Rose told Gordon Brunskill of the Centre Daily Times in an article posted in June 2009, he “tried very hard to get a number of people to play, talked to a number of teams in the top 10, and there were some people that didn’t want to play us home or away. . . . And there were some that didn’t want to come and play us. Scheduling is not as easy as maybe people think it is.”

Case in point: Rose believed Nebraska had agreed to play Penn State at University Park this season — a match that would have drawn enormous attention, given Penn State’s hard fought 3-2 victory over the Huskers in last year’s National Semi-Final match in Omaha, Nebraska.

That 2008 match was a classic: largest crowd in NCAA Women’s Volleyball history, the only two sets Penn State lost all season. Here are video highlights from the match:

A natural, plus it would have been fair: Penn State has played Nebraska 12 times in Lincoln (plus last year’s “neutral” match in Omaha). Nebraska has played Penn State in University Park dozens of times once. For some reason, Nebraska chose not to come.

It must be particularly galling to Rose to be criticized for participating in Saint Louis University’s Active Ankle Challenge in St. Louis, MO (against then-#17 St. Louis, Miami (OH), and Alabama) and at the Duke Invitational (versus Loyola, Md., College of Charleston, and ACC pre-season favorite Duke). Penn State had long-standing commitments to these events in return for visits to Penn State in recent seasons. The Durham trip had the added benefit that it is Megan Hodge’s hometown and close to Raleigh, Katie Kabbes’ hometown.

We wish Stanford, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, Washington, etc., etc., etc. were all coming to Univerity Park. Maybe next year.

There, we feel better. Here’s what gopsusports has to say about this weekend’s matches:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., September 17, 2009.

“The No. 1 Penn State women’s volleyball team heads into its final weekend of non-conference play with one road match and two within the confines of Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions travel to Temple on Friday, Sept. 18 for a 7 p.m. match with the Owls in McGonigle Hall. Penn State returns home to Rec Hall to meet Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m., followed by a second match with Temple at 7:30 p.m. In addition, a match between Temple and Saint Francis will take place at 2 p.m.

Live stats will be available for Penn State’s home matches versus Saint Francis and Temple on Saturday . . . . [Editors Note: Links are available on DigNittany Volleyball’s Schedule+Results page, which you also can click on the toolbar above]. More from