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Penn State prepares for NCAA Volleyball Championships

The Penn State women's volleyball team is two wins away from another national championship, and are the hands-down favorite to win after reeling off 12 straight wins to move to 33-2 on the year.

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

The top-seeded Penn State women's volleyball team is primed to win its fifth title in six seasons, although they still have a pair of games to win if they want to bring home the championship.

Last year was a bit of a shock for the Nittany Lions: after four straight titles, the 2011 squad was swept by eventual champions UCLA in the third round. But they've come back this season with a vengeance: led by first-team all-Americans Micha Hancock and Ariel Scott, as well as second teamer Katie Slay and third teamer Deja McClendon, they're 33-2. They've won 12 straight since a loss to Nebraska Oct. 28. In fact, they've only lost three sets in that time, shutting out their opponents nine times.

First up for Penn State is No. 5 Oregon, who they face Thursday night. They lost to Oregon last year, but this is a much different and much better Penn State squad. Saturday, they'll play the winner of No. 3 Texas and unseeded Michigan, both of whom have already played and lost against Penn State this season.

Thursday night's semifinal against Oregon will be played at 9 p.m. Eastern in Louisville, Kentucky.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.