Penn State Volleyball Takes Both Weekend Games
Penn State women’s volleyball was in action Friday and Sunday this weekend, taking both matches again conference opponents Illinois and Northwestern. The two wins put Coach Russ Rose in second place for most all-time wins in NCAA women’s volleyball history (1,107), just ahead of former UCLA coach Andy Banachowski.
Friday’s game in Champaign didn’t start off as hoped for the Nittany Lions. After a back and forth that saw the teams tied at 8, Illinois dominated most of the rest of the set to take it 25-19.
Penn State fell behind in the second set 15-7, but a 6-1 rally closed the gap to 16-13. Illinois fought back with three kills of its own, but Penn State went on a 10-4 run to go ahead 23-20, including two blocks from Micha Hancock. Kills from Nia Grant and Katie Slay gave Penn State the second set win.
An early 9-5 lead in the third set from Penn State was quickly negated when Illinois tied it at 13. The two teams exchanged points until Illinois went on a 4-0 run to go ahead 20-17. Illinois had two attack errors, which were followed by a kill from Deja McClendon and a block from Ariel Scott and Katie Slay to put Penn State within one at 22-21. Penn State tied it up a few more times but Illinois would win the set 26-24.
The two teams tied the fourth set at nine, which was the closest Illinois came for the rest of the set. Deja McClendon had two kills to help Penn State with a 4-0 run. Penn State would take the set 25-15.
The fifth set stayed close, but an Illinois serving error at 11-11 was all the push Penn State needed. A net violation by Illinois along with a block from Nia Grant and Megan Courtney put Penn State up 14-11. A kill by Ariel Scott sealed the set and the match for Penn State.
Sunday’s match in Evanston was a bit more of a breeze and Penn State took all three sets. The first set was tied at 7, but Penn State quickly pulled away to lead the rest of the set. Penn State went up 14-9, which quickly became 18-12. A kill and an ace from Micha Hancock put the set win within reach 23-15. Northwestern had two kills, but a service error of its own in addition to a kill from Ariel Scott gave Penn State the set at 25-17.
Penn State dominated the second set early with a 13-5 lead with help from three kills from Deja McClendon and two kills from Nia Grant. A 5-1 streak from Penn State put Penn State up 11 points. Northwestern had three consecutive kills, forcing Penn State to take a timeout. Northwestern came out of the timeout with two hitting errors, which put Penn State at set point. Grant had an ace to give Penn State the 25-15 set win.
Three kills put Penn State up 6-1 in the third set, but Northwestern responded with a 7-2 run of its own to tie the set at 8. The set remained close at 15-13, but Penn State allowed just four points from Northwestern on its way to win the set and match 25-17.
Penn State improves to 16-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference. Penn State faces Ohio State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. The match is also the team’s Dig Pink match, and fans are encouraged to wear pink.