Women’s Volleyball Advances To Sweet 16 After Defeating Utah
The women’s volleyball team is advancing to the regional semifinals — the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament — after winning in straight sets over Utah on Saturday night at Rec Hall.
Penn State had an early lead over the Utes in the first set with an 8-2 advantage, prompted by three kills from Katie Slay and Deja McClendon. A 5-1 streak from the Nittany Lions put them ahead 13-4 shortly after. Utah fought to get within seven, but a 7-2 run gave the Nittany Lions a 12-point lead for a 21-9 advantage in the first set of the Sweet 16 matchup. Despite the fact that Utah cut the lead down to ten points, Penn State scored in order to reach set point. Utah avoided losing the set on the ensuing point, but a kill from Nia Grant gave Penn State a 25-14 set win to take a 1-0 match lead.
Penn State had another early 8-3 set lead in the second set, but Utah had two back-to-back kills to cut into the advanatge. Penn State offset the kills with six consecutive points with help from Megan Courtney, who had four kills on the run. Utah cut the lead to 15-10, but a 5-2 run maintained Penn State’s lead, putting the Nittany Lions ahead 20-12. The Utes put together a short run but a 5-1 Nittany Lion streak quashed that and gave Penn State a 25-15 second set win heading into the intermission.
The Nittany Lions started the third set with a 4-1 lead, which eventually progressed to a 12-6 advantage. Despite the Utes closing the score to 18-11, Penn State won the set 25-11 after seven consecutive points.
Penn State heads to Lexington, KY next weekend for the regional semifinals, which are being held on December 13. The Nittany Lions will face the winner of the Michigan State-Kentucky match, which will be played tomorrow.