Penn State after a one-year hiatus will return to Hawaii to open its season at the annual Outrigger Invitational.
The Nittany Lions return to the island was made official last week as Hawai’i unveiled its 2013 schedule and announced that Penn State, Ohio State and UCLA will play in the school’s home tournament in January 2013.
The Outrigger Invitational is one of the oldest non-conference tournaments in college men’s volleyball. It also traditionally includes Hawai’i and a team from the MPSF, MIVA and EIVA in its four-team field.
Penn State before last season had played in every Outrigger Invitational since the inaugural event in 1995. However, the Nittany Lions in 2012 were unable to participate because of scheduling conflicts.
Penn State, which has won 14 consecutive EIVA championships and reached the NCAA Tournament semifinals last season, was replaced by Springfield in the 2012 Outrigger Invitational. Springfield as the East Coast representative went 0-3 in the tournament but would close out its season winning the inaugural NCAA Division III championship.
UCLA returns to the Outrigger Invitational as the two-time defending tournament champions.
The Bruins have finished non-conference tournament undefeated the last two years, including winning all but one set last season.
This will also be the first Outrigger Invitational with John Speraw as the UCLA head coach. Speraw after winning three NCAA championships with UC Irvine left the Anteaters to replace retired Hall of Fame coach Al Scates as the Bruins head coach.
Ohio State will make its first appearance at the Outrigger Invitational since 2010 when it finished the tournament 0-3 with losses to Hawai’i, Penn State and USC.
The Buckeyes finished last season winning their sixth consecutive MIVA regular season title but lost to Lewis in the conference tournament championship.
Hawai’i coach Charlie Wade said last year that when scheduling the Outrigger Invitational he tries to rotate one tournament spot among the top MIVA teams.
Hawai’i will be compete in its home tournament after finish last season in last place in the MPSF — one of the team’s worst finishes in program history. In addition, Hawai’i went 1-2 in its home tournament with losses against Lewis and UCLA.
Hawai’i since winning the Outrigger Invitational in 2010 is a combined 1-5 in the tournament the last two years.
This will also be the second consecutive year that the Warriors will not open their season with the Outrigger Invitational.
Hawai’i will play a two-match conference road series against BYU on Jan. 4-5 before returning home for its tournament the following week.
2013 Outrigger Invitational schedule
UCLA vs. Penn State — 4 p.m. Jan. 10
Ohio State at Hawai’i — 7 p.m. Jan. 10
Ohio State vs. UCLA — 4 p.m. Jan. 11
Penn State at Hawai’i — 7 p.m. Jan. 11
Ohio State vs. Penn State — 4 p.m. Jan. 12
UCLA at Hawai’i — 7 p.m. Jan. 12