Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Wisconsin in National Championship Rematch

For a national championship rematch, it was awfully one-sided.

For the 14th time in the last 15 meetings, the Penn State women’s volleyball team swept the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers (25-17, 25-21, 25-22) on Wednesday night in Madison.

The Big Ten-opening victory puts the No. 3 Nittany Lions (13-1) in first place in the conference. The Badgers (9-2) begin their conference campaign with a loss.

A Simone Lee kill into the far corner closed a fast-paced first set, 25-17. The freshman had 12 kills on the evening, her fourth game of 10 or more kills. Megan Courtney recorded six kills in the first set for Penn State, who out-hit the overmatched Badgers .311-.122 in the set.

The first set also contained this insane back-and-forth rally, the longest of the match, that finally went in Penn State’s favor after Nia Grant did her thing.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to another advantage in the second set, but a 5-0 Badger run tied the score at 17. Seemingly with ease, Penn State closed the set on a 9-4 advantage, and took the second set with an Ali Frantti kill, 25-21. Frantti tallied nine kills in the match.

The third set proved to be the most challenging for the Nittany Lions. Down 6-9, Penn State responded with a 5-0 run. The teams traded blocks and kills until Micha Hancock smashed her ninth kill on match point for a 25-22 victory.

Wisconsin began the third set with a 9-6 lead, but a 5-0 Penn State run quickly put to rest any thought of a comeback. Last December, the Nittany Lions stomped the Badgers in four sets in Seattle to win the national championship.

Wednesday night’s victory solidifies the volleyball team’s position as the team to beat in the Big Ten. Its lone blemish is a five-set loss to top-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto. Since then, Penn State has won 10 matches in a row.

The matchup against Wisconsin was the first of four consecutive Big Ten road games for the Nittany Lions in the coming two weeks. Penn State returns home on Oct. 8 vs. Northwestern.

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA


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