Women’s Volleyball Clinches 16th Conference Championship
No. 2 women’s volleyball beat Ohio State in straight sets to win the Big Ten Championship last night in Columbus. With the win, the Nittany Lions now have 16 conference titles in program history and 11 in the last 10 years.
Seniors Deja McClendon, Ariel Scott, and Katie Slay led the team in blocks for the night. McClendon sparked the offense with a double-double, recording 11 kills and 14 digs. Scott followed with 8 kills and 3 blocks, and Slay led the team with 7 blocks in the match. Junior Nia Grant had the team’s best hitting percentage at .556 and added six kills.
In the first set, the teams exchanged points before Penn State went on a 4-1 run to take a quick three-point lead at 6-3. Ohio State fought back and cut the lead to just one before Scott, Grant and sophomore Megan Courtney answered with a triple block at the net to open up a 6-1 run, taking the score to 12-6. The Buckeyes called a timeout and tried to regain control of the set, but Penn State went on a 9-1 run to take a 12-point advantage. Grant put the set away with a kill to make it 25-14.
The second set started with more of the same as Penn State opened up with a quick 8-3 lead. A Nittany Lion error stopped the momentum but Courtney answered with back-to-back kills and the team managed to go on a 5-1 run to go ahead 13-5. The Buckeyes then called another timeout. The Nittany Lions came out of the stoppage on a 9-3 run that ended with two kills and an ace from McClendon to end the set 22-9.
The Nittany Lions had all of the momentum going into the third set and used it to their advantage, storming out to a 14-1 lead. Ohio State tried to jumpstart its offense with a kill, but the Nittany Lions answered with a 5-2 streak to bring the lead to 15, which proved to be too much for a tired Ohio State team to overcome. The Nittany Lions finished them off with a 6-1 run to win the set at 25-8 and claim the 2013 Big Ten Championship outright.
The eight points the Nittany Lions gave up in the third set marks the fewest number of points given up by the Lions in any individual set against a Big Ten opponent this season.
Penn State will travel to Nebraska on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. to end its regular season. The selection show, which will include seed announcements for the NCAA tournament, airs on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on ESPNU.