The independent team with the best record in the nation will make its first trip to Penn State during the upcoming season.
Coker announced recently on its athletics department website that it will play a non-conference road match against Penn State in the opening weeks of the 2017 season.
“We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to make the trip up to Penn State,” coach Eric Snyder said in a statement to Off the Block. “They are a perennial power with an awesome history of success and post-graduate national team players. Our program has made some solid strides over the past few years, and this is another way for us to challenge ourselves against high level competition. After our trip to Ohio State last year and getting a taste for that type of environment and competitive atmosphere the guys are itching for more. Much thanks goes out to coach [Mark] Pavlik for having us up.”
The Cobras finished last season leading all NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball independent teams with a 14-9 record, including seven victories against Conference Carolinas teams and a road loss to the eventual NCAA champions Ohio State. The team also has a majority of its starters returning following its first winning season in the program’s four-year history history and a the top-30 RPI ranking.
Opposite Joao Victor Santos was named an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American after finishing the regular season among the nation’s leaders with a 3.73 kills per game average. In addition, outside attacker Artur Cabral was second in the nation with a 0.60 aces per game average and was a finalist for the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of theYear.
Penn State enters the upcoming season after having its streak of 17 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and EIVA Tournament championships come to an end earlier this year. The Nittany Lions, though, finished the season at No. 12 in the national coaches poll..
Among the starters returning for the Nittany Lions includes outside attacker Chris Nugent, who was selected as the 2016 Co-EIVA Player of the Year.
This match on Jan. 28 will be the first all-time meeting between Penn State and Coker.
Penn State in recent years has typically scheduled one or two non-conference matches against Conference Carolinas teams, along with playing other non-conference matches versus nationally ranked teams from the MIVA and MPSF.