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Saturday's Schedule

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NCAA Championship Final - Seattle, Wash.
#2 PENN STATE vs. #12 WISCONSIN - 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

PSU's Harding Earns NCAA Elite 89 Award

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Penn State senior Maggie Harding has been selected as the recipient of the Elite 89 award for the 2013 NCAA DI Women's Volleyball Championship. Harding has now earned the prestigious honor for the second time in her career, having won the award in 2012. Harding is presently majoring in food science and has maintained an unblemished 4.0 grade-point average. She was presented with the award during the NCAA Championship banquet Wednesday evening in Seattle, Wash. After redshirting her freshman year, Harding has emerged as a leader on the team, being named one of the team captains for the 2013 season. Throughout her career, the defensive specialist has garnered three Academic All-Big Ten selections, while also earning the Big Ten Sportsmanship award for women's volleyball in 2011 and 2013.

The Elite 89 award was founded by the NCAA and recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented annually to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating in the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships. Eligible student-athletes are sophomore or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed. For more on the Elite 89 award, click here.

Penn State Release

Penn State Head Volleyball Coach Russ Rose was tabbed the AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year, it was announced on Thursday. The 35th year head coach of the Nittany Lions has once again proved in 2013 why he is one of the best to ever coach the game. Never having a season with fewer than 22 victories, Rose is just the third active coach in Division I to record 1,000 career wins.

Penn State had high expectations in 2013 and have not disappointed.  Rose collected his 16th Big Ten Championship and 14th Big Ten Coach of the Year honor leading his squad to a 28-2 regular-season and 19-1 conference record. The Nittany Lions boast five players on the AVCA All-Northeast Region team in Nia Grant, Micha Hancock, Deja McClendon, Ariel Scott and Katie Slay, with Rose earning AVCA Region Coach of the Year.

It wasn't just the fact they won in what many consider one of the most difficult conferences in the country, it was how they won it.  In their 19 Big Ten victories (57 sets won), they dropped just a total of 11 sets. As a team, Penn State leads the nation with 3.10 blocks per set and is third in team hitting percentage (.314) and win percentage (93.8%).

Rose is now a five-time AVCA National Coach of the Year after winning in 1990, 1997, 2007 and 2008.

AVCA Release
Penn State Release

Thursday's Results

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NCAA Championship Semifinals - Seattle, Wash.
#12 WISCONSIN def. #1 Texas, 3-1

Five Big Ten Players Tabbed NSCAA Scholar All-Americans

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Five Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America teams. Penn State's Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes earned first-team honors, while Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Minnesota's Katie Thyken and Nebraska's Jordan Jackson were second-team selections.

Schram, a senior midfielder, posts a 3.40 cumulative GPA in psychology. She scored five goals and collected eight assists for the Nittany Lions, earning her second-team All-Big Ten honors. Hayes, an NSCAA second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection, maintains a 3.39 GPA in kinesiology. She collected 44 points this season, including 19 goals and six assists. Penn State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

DiBernardo, who collects the honor for the second time, studies recreation, sport and tourism and maintains a 3.70 GPA. She scored seven goals to go along with seven assists, helping the Illini reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Thyken studies biomechanical engineering and boasts a 3.97 GPA. She led the Golden Gophers with seven goals and three assists, helping Minnesota advance to the NCAA Tournament. Jackson, the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, compiled a 3.34 GPA in nutrition, exercise and health science. She scored nine goals and collected 11 assists, helping her team win the Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title.

In order to be selected for the team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale throughout their career as well as start more than 50 percent of a team's games, while being a junior or a senior.

The NSCAA Scholar All-America men's soccer teams were announced, with Michigan State's Kevin Cope and Tim Kreutz earning honors. Cope was tabbed a first-team selection, while Kreutz was named to the third team.

Cope, who earns the laurel for the second time, boasts a 3.75 GPA and studies finance. The senior contributed to a backline that helped the Spartans lead the Big Ten in fewest goals allowed (17), while he also scored two goals and collected two assists. Cope also earned NSCAA/NCAA second-team All-America honors. Kreutz, a finance major that maintains a 3.3 GPA, started all 23 games and collected 23 points, including nine goals and five assists. Cope and Kreutz were both first-team All-Big Ten selections and helped lead Michigan State to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

In order to be selected for the team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale throughout their career as well as start more than 50 percent of a team's games, while being a junior or a senior.

Twelve Players Named to Top Drawer Soccer Best XI Teams

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The Best XI teams were announced Thursday, with 12 Big Ten women's soccer players earning accolades. Players from seven different conference squads were named to the Best XI teams, which recognize 33 upperclassmen and 22 freshmen for their performances during the 2013 season. The full list of the Big Ten's representation on the Best XI teams can be found below.

Best XI Teams
First Team
Nkem Ezurike, MICH
Maya Hayes, PSU

Second Team
Vanessa DiBernardo, ILL

Third Team
Jannelle Flaws, ILL
Shelina Zadorsky, MICH
Ari Romero, NEB

Freshman Best XI
First Team
Jaycie Johnson, NEB
Rose Lavelle, WIS

Second Team
Madisson Lewis, MICH
Tarah Hobbs, MINN
Nichelle Prince, OSU
Brittany Basinger, PSU

For the complete teams, click here.

Penn State's Scott Named Senior CLASS Award Winner

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Penn State right side hitter, Ariel Scott has been selected as the 2013 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I volleyball. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, community, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

A public relations major with minors in business and liberal arts, Scott has maintained a 3.8 grade point average in her major. She is an active member of the Penn State chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors while also being selected as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Since her freshman year, Scott has volunteered regularly with the Special Olympics, working to teach participants basic volleyball skills. She also organizes outreach opportunities for Special Olympians through the Penn State women's volleyball program. Scott is a three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American and All-Big Ten honoree. Heading into the post-season, she ranked second on the team in kills and blocks. The Nittany Lions are the second-ranked team in the country and carry a 32-2 overall record entering tonight's NCAA semifinal match against Washington.

Two other Big Ten student-athletes earned Senior Class Award recognition, as Michigan's Jennifer Cross and Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski were named to the award's second team.

For the complete release, click here.

Thursday's Schedule

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NCAA Championship Semifinals - Seattle, Wash.
#1 Texas vs. #12 WISCONSIN - 7:30 p.m.
#2 PENN STATE vs. #3 WASHINGTON - 9:30 p.m.

All times are ET
Both matches can be seen on ESPN2

Thirteen Volleyball Players Tabbed AVCA All-America

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Thirteen Big Ten volleyball players were selected as AVCA Division I All-Americans, the most of any conference, with four players earning first-team status. Minnesota's Tori Dixon, Nebraska's Kelsey Robinson, and Penn State's Micha Hancock and Ariel Scott earned first-team honors, while Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski, Minnesota's Ashley Wittman, Penn State's Deja McClendon and Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini were named to the second team. Illinois' Jocelynn Birks, Michigan State's Kori Moster, Nebraska's Kadie Rolfzen, Penn State's Katie Slay and Purdue's Val Nichol earned third-team honors. Thirteen others received honorable mention recognition -- Illinois' Jennifer Beltran, Michigan's Jennifer Cross, Lexi Dannemiller and Molly Toon, Michigan State's Alexis Mathews, Minnesota's Adrianna Nora, Nebraska's Meghan Haggerty and Mary Pollmiller, Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus, Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary, Penn State's Nia Grant, Purdue's KiKi Jones and Wisconsin's Ellen Chapman.

Eight of the 13 selected to the All-America teams were repeat honorees, including McClendon, who is the only player in the 2013 class to be named a four-time All-American. Scott, Slay and Wicinski were all three-time honorees, while Dixon, Hancock, Robinson and Wittman were honored for the second time. Two freshman were selected to All-America teams in Rolfzen and Carlini.

As a team, the Nittany Lions had four players named to All-America teams, which was tied for the most along all schools nationally.

For the complete list of honorees, click here.

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