Entering the weekend 2-2 in Big Ten play, Indiana volleyball is set to hit the road for its first away series, heading to Penn State and Maryland on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Indiana head coach Steve Aird has ties to both programs and has coached at both universities during his career.
Aird is an alum of Penn State and was on the Nittany Lions volleyball staff team 2007-2014, including a stretch 2007-2010 when they won four consecutive titles under then-head coach Russ Rose. He was then the head coach at Maryland 2014-2017 before departing to become head coach at Indiana.
This weekend, the Hoosiers will first take on the No. 14 Nittany Lions led by the largest transfer class in the Big Ten. Graduate setter Mac Podraza — Big Ten Setter of the Year in 2022 — transferred from Ohio State during the offseason. Along with Podraza, senior outside hitter Jess Mruzik transferred to Penn State from Michigan. Podraza and Mruzik played crucial roles in leading the Nittany Lions to their most recent victory over No. 15 Minnesota.
On Saturday, the Hoosiers will face Maryland. The Terrapins enter the weekend 12-4 on the season and 2-2 in conference play. The Hoosiers and Terrapins both face the University of Miami (FL) in the Nonconference. The Hoosiers won in a five-set battle, and the Terrapins lost three sets to one, with both matches taking place in Florida.
Penn State and Maryland each are ranked in the top 100 RPI. A victory this weekend would bolster Hoosiers’ NCAA Tournament resume, as the team is looking to earn a bid for the first time since 2010.
Both contests for the Hoosiers start at 7 p.m. on their respective days and will be available to broadcast on Big Ten Plus.
Follow reporter Michael Livingston (.@mblivingston_) for updates throughout the Indiana volleyball season.