No. 1 Penn State women’s volleyball edged in-state foe Pitt 3-1 Saturday night in Rec Hall to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions put together a more complete showing than the previous night against Howard, topping the Panthers 25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19 behind big showings from Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington.
How It Happened
Washington, Lee, and fellow senior Ali Frantti tallied five kills apiece in the first set, helping the Nittany Lions put away a charging Panthers squad. All three would finish with double-digit kills. Sophomore libero Kendall White showed tremendous awareness on a ball that glanced off the net and just out of bounds, holding Frantti back from attacking it late in the frame.
Lee was practically flawless in the first two sets, recording just one error after struggling Friday versus the Bison. Untimely service errors from Bryanna Weiskircher and Emily Sciorra, however, allowed Pitt to take the second set and even things up at 1-1.
Penn State refused to let the Panthers build too much confidence, securing a hard-fought victory in the third frame. White and senior setter Abby Detering paced the defense with 15 and 14 digs, respectively, as the Nittany Lions turned on the boosters to reach the next round.
— NCAA Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) December 3, 2017
“We knew they were going to try to hit it off our hands, try to beat us with pace and speed. We did a good job setting up around our block,” White said postgame.
“We hung in there at critical times. Obviously Haleigh, Simone, and Ali had good nights offensively and I thought Abby and Kendall did a great job defensively,” Rose said. “I thought our size wore them down a little bit at the end.”
Player Of The Match
Simone Lee | Senior | Outside hitter
Lee posted a match-high 19 kills, four digs, four blocks, and two assists against the Panthers.
The top-seeded Nittany Lions (31-1) will host Missouri Friday at 2 p.m. on ESPNU. Michigan State and Illinois will square off at 4 p.m. In total, six Big Ten teams made the Sweet 16 — the most of any conference.