Know the opponents: Shockers ready to open season at Penn State Classic

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Know the opponents: Shockers ready to open season at Penn State Classic

Shocker's starting lineup prepares for their first set against Kansas University on Aug. 17 in Charles Koch Arena.

Shocker's starting lineup prepares for their first set against Kansas University on Aug. 17 in Charles Koch Arena.

Easton Thompson

Shocker's starting lineup prepares for their first set against Kansas University on Aug. 17 in Charles Koch Arena.

Easton Thompson

Easton Thompson

Shocker's starting lineup prepares for their first set against Kansas University on Aug. 17 in Charles Koch Arena.

The Wichita State volleyball team is set to kick off its season Friday when the team travels to Pennsylvania for the Penn State Classic.

Running from Friday through Saturday, the Shockers will play three matches against Holy Cross, Hofstra and the No. 8 team in the country, Penn State. The Shockers first play Holy Cross on Friday at 4 p.m.

The tournament will also be the first matches for all 11 of the Shocker newcomers. Here’s what is known about the teams in the field:

 

Holy Cross

Last season, Holy Cross tallied just eight wins with 21 losses.

As a team, the Crusaders return 14 members from last season’s team. That team hit just .127 percent on the offensive side of the net, compared to Wichita State’s .208 percent. They also had 205 service errors.

The Crusaders were picked to finish eighth out of nine teams in the Patriot League this season, only finishing ahead of Lafayette, who went 5-23 last season.

 

Hofstra

Last season, Hofstra went 25-8 and was selected into the NCAA Tournament after winning the Colonial Athletic Association Championship. They would go on to lose in the first round of the tournament to the eventual national runner-up Nebraska.

As a team, the Pride hit .255 on the year and allowed its opponents to hit just .182 against their defense. They also tallied 2.1 blocks per set. This year, Hofstra returns eight members off of the team that made it to the NCAA Tournament.

The Pride was selected to finish second in the CAA preseason poll this fall. The team is also home to the CAA preseason player of the year Laura Masciullo, who posted a team-high 466 kills, added 98 digs and 68 blocks last season.

 

No. 8 Penn State

Penn State is known for volleyball. Last season, the team finished 26-8 before falling to the eventual national champion Stanford in their NCAA Regional Final.

As a team, the Nittany Lions hit .264 on offense on their way to tallying 13.9 kills per set. The also recorded 2.9 blocks per set, and 14.7 digs per set. Penn State returns 14 players from last season’s tournament team.

This season, Penn State was selected to finish fourth in the Big 10 preseason poll. The NCAA currently ranks the Nittany Lions as the No. 8 team in the entire country.