The No. 2 Penn State Women’s Volleyball team continued their home dominance against Illinois on Thursday night, in a match that wasn’t as close as the scores looked. They swept the visiting Illini, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-14) below brand-new championship banners in Rec Hall.
Penn State started fast in the first set, gaining a 10-2 lead, and never looked back. Illinois used both timeouts to try and stop the Lions momentum, yet nothing helped as a Katie Slay kill gave Penn State a 16-5 lead. Illinois attempted a comeback with a 6-3 run, but if didn’t faze Penn State, as they won the set 25-17 on a Micha Hancock kill.
Illinois started hot in the second set, jumping out to a 13-8 lead. Penn State then decided to play like the second-ranked team should, and promptly went on a 17-4 run to end the set, 25-17. Deja McClendon had 3 kills during the run. The team continued their hot streak into the 3rd set, jumping out to a 14-1 advantage. The teams traded points after that, with a hitting error giving Penn State the set, 25-14, and the match 3-0.
McClendon had 11 kills to lead the team, and Slay had 5 blocks. Freshman Kendall Pierce had two aces, and deserves a special shoutout for holding serve for the 14-point run in the third set.
With the win, Penn State improved their record to 24-2 overall, and 14-1 in the Big Ten. They also increased their home winning streak to 20 games, dating back to last season. PSU plays at home again on Saturday night at 8 p.m. against Northwestern. The game had been declared a “Dig Pink” match, where fans are asked to wear pink in support of the fight against breast cancer.