No. 4 Penn State (5-0) and No. 1 Stanford (4-0) are the only programs to have appeared in every NCAA tournament since the NCAA championship began in 1981. Friday's Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge is a potential preview to this year's title run. The Sept. 13 match is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET at Penn State.
The defending champion Cardinal are on a 36-match win streak and have not lost more that two sets this season, but the Nittany Lions are perfect through five matches, not dropping one set. Check out our preview and how to watch section below for this week's exciting top-4 matchup.
Penn State-Stanford volleyball: Preview
Penn State has endured a breezy schedule to start the season, posting sweep after sweep. But now the Nittany Lions will face their first ranked opponent in Stanford, the defending national champion. Going zero to 100 might be very difficult for the Penn State squad, but there is hope. Last week, the Cardinal's first huge test in another possible national title season came against No. 3 Texas. The Longhorns pushed the match to five sets, even taking the first.
This year's Stanford team is a hard one to beat. The drive to win every single point is a testament to the 12-2 set win ratio. The video below against Texas exhibits it perfectly.
Kathryn Plummer is in the driver's seat for the Cardinal. She was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the seventh time in her career after averaging 6.88 kills and 7.00 points per set on .462 hitting against Florida and Texas. Thirty-four kills against the Longhorns was a career best and most by a Stanford player since 2010.
Longest win streaks in NCAA DI women's volleyball history:
- 1st at 109: Penn State from Sept. 21, 2007 to Sept. 10, 2010
- 2nd at 52: Southern California from Nov. 2, 2002 to Sept. 10, 2004
- 3rd at 44: Penn State from August 31 to Dec. 7, 1990
- 4th at 43: UCLA from Nov. 16, 1991 to Dec. 17, 1992
- 5th at 42: Long Beach State from Aug. 28, 1998 to Sept. 10, 1999
- 6th at 37: Florida from August 24 to Dec. 13, 1996
- 7th (tied) at 36: Florida (August 23 to Dec. 18, 2003), Nebraska (Sept. 1, 2000 to Aug. 25, 2001), Penn State (August 28 to Dec. 18, 1999) and Stanford (Sept. 1, 2018 to present)
|TALE OF THE TAPE|
|No. 1||AVCA ranking||No. 4|
|Coach (Record at school)||
|National champions||2018 NCAA tournament||Regional final|
|38||NCAA tournament appearances||38|
Serena Gray/Kaitlyn Hord,
def. No. 3 Texas, 3-2
def. LSU, 3-0
vs. No. 8 Minnesota
|Next match (times ET)||
vs. No. 10 Oregon
SCOREBOARD: Live updates, scores for every game
The Nittany Lions have their own notable star in Kaityln Hord, who earned the Big Ten Player of the Week honor and Cyclone Invitational MVP after besting Iowa State and LSU last weekend.
Hord and Serena Gray have combined for three matches with a .700-plus hitting percentage on at least 10 kills.
Penn State-Stanford volleyball: How to watch, time, TV channel
The 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) match between Penn State and Stanford on Friday, Sept. 13 will be televised on Big Ten Network and will be available to watch on Big Ten Network+. You can also listen to it on Lionvision.
UNDEFEATED TEAMS: Looking at the top contenders to go unbeaten this season
Penn State-Stanford volleyball: Series history
The Nittany Lions leads the Cardinal 12-11 in all-time matchups.
Stanford beat Penn State twice last season, the final loss occurring in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, 3-1. The Nittany Lions were last victorious over the Cardinal twice in 2017, during Penn State's 10-0 streak to start the season.
Here's a look at the complete series history:
|Dec. 8, 2018||Stanford, CA||Stanford 3-1|
|Sept. 7, 2018||Stanford, CA||Stanford 3-0|
|Sept. 9, 2017||Champaign, IL||Penn State 3-2|
|Sept. 1, 2017||College Station, TX||Penn State 3-1|
|Sept. 4, 2016||Boulder, CO||Stanford, 3-0|
|Sept. 5, 2015||State College, PA||Penn State 3-0|
|Dec. 18, 2014||Oklahoma City, OK||Penn State 3-1|
|Sept. 5, 2014||Stanford, CA||Stanford 3-2|
|Dec. 14, 2013||Lexington, KY||Penn State 3-2|
|Sept. 31, 2012||University Park, PA||Penn State 3-2|
|Sept. 9, 2011||Stanford, CA||Stanford 3-1|
|Sept. 11, 2010||Gainesville, FL||Stanford 3-0|
|Dec. 20, 2008||Ohama, NE||Penn State 3-0|
|Dec. 15, 2007||Sacramento, CA||Penn State 3-2|
|Sept. 15, 2007||New Haven, CN||Stanford 3-2|
|Aug. 26, 2005||Omaha, NE||Stanford 3-2|
|Sept. 10, 2004||Stanford, CA||Penn State 3-2|
|Sept. 4, 2001||University Park, PA||Stanford 3-1|
|Dec. 18, 1999||Honolulu, HA||Penn State, 3-0|
|Dec. 20, 1997||Spokane, WA||Stanford 3-2|
|Sept. 6, 1997||Storrs, CN||Penn State 3-1|
|Aug. 23, 1997||Stanford, CA||Penn State 3-0|
|Dec. 10, 1992||Champaign, IL||Stanford 3-0|