Women’s Volleyball Defeats LIU Brooklyn In NCAA Tourney Opener
No.2 Penn State defeated LIU Brooklyn in straight sets last night in Rec Hall, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with the win.
The seniors lead the offense for the Lions as Ariel Scott had nine kills and three blocks. Katie Slay had eight kills, six blocks and had the best hitting clip for the Lions with .412. Deja McClendon added three blocks, seven kills, and a match-high 10 digs.
Early in the first frame, the Lions were trailing by three, 10-7, but back-to-back-to-back blocks from Slay, McClendon and Micha Hancock helped the Lions to go on a 10-2 run to go ahead 17-12. The Blackbirds tried to answer with their own offensive streak and went on a 4-1 run, but it was stopped with two kills from Megan Courtney to give the momentum back to Penn State. After a Blackbirds timeout, the Nittany Lions went on a 5-3 streak featuring kills from Nia Grant, Slay and two from Courtney which ended the set 25-21.
Penn State was again down early in the second set, 5-3, but a quick 3-1 run knotted things up. The tie was short-lived after a Blackbird kill but Penn State responded with a dominant 7-1 run. The Blackbirds continued to fight and made the Nittany Lions work for the win. They scored three unanswered points before Slay tried to start a rally with a kill. The Blackbirds pushed on, fending off the Nittany Lions and tying the set at 14-14. The play continued to go back and forth and was tied two more times before the Lions went on a 5-2 run to claim a three point lead 22-19. LIU brought it within two but the Lions ended the set with a 3-1 run to secure the 25-21 victory.
Early in the third set, McClendon started a 5-0 streak with a kill and two blocks to put the Lions on top at 10-5. Penn State able to maintain a five point lead for some time before a 8-2 run to go up by 11, 23-12. The Blackbirds attempted to start a comeback after two quick points but McClendon thwarted that with a kill to make it match point 24-14. Senior Maggie Harding had an ace to win the set 25-14 and clinch a victory in the First Round of the tournament.
The Lions return to Rec Hall tonight where they face Utah in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.