No. 1 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Downs No. 2 Stanford In Front Of 6,000+ At Rec Hall
The utter catastrophe that was Penn State football’s deflating season-opening loss against Temple probably dampened the spirits of Nittany Lion supporters everywhere. Luckily, football wasn’t the only sport being played on Saturday. The No. 1 ranked Penn State women’s volleyball team took on No. 2 Stanford in a heavyweight clash in front of a packed house at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions lived up to the ranking, erasing the Cardinal in straight sets in what turned out to be the team’s best collective performance of the 2015 season thus far. Let’s see how the action unfolded.
How It Happened
The two juggernaut squads wasted no time in setting the tempo offensively, but the Nittany Lions struggled to keep up with Stanford early in the first set. After a desperation attempt from Haleigh Washington, the Lions faced an early 9-5 deficit, which prompted Head Coach Russ Rose to call the team’s first timeout. His words of encouragement seemed to work, as the tandem of Megan Courtney and Washington led an offensive charge to tie the set at 17 points apiece. The Lions rode the wave of momentum to a commanding first set victory, outlasting the Cardinal 25-21.
Penn State fed off of the electric atmosphere, and continued to hammer away at the Stanford defense. Ali Frantti, who finised with 13 kills, sent home a thunderous spike to put the Nittany Lions ahead 8-3 early on in the second set. The two teams battled back and forth, but it was Washington, who took charge, tying the set up at 16 after her eighth kill of the night. The Lions continued the onslaught, sending the announced crowd of 6,055 into a frenzy after capturing the second set 25-22.
Washington, who finished up with 12 kills, was seemingly unstoppable all night long. A blistering kill put the Lions up 2-1 early on, and forced Stanford to talk things over after extending the lead to three later on in the set. Ahead 19-16, the Lions’ relentless attack never let up. Aiyana Whitney, who finished with 13 kills as one of four Nittany Lions in double figures, led the charge in this frame. Her incredible display of offensive prowess helped the Nittany Lions capture the set 25-18, and complete the 3-0 sweep of the No. 2 team in the country.
Penn State extends its unbeaten streak to 5-0, giving the team a jolt of unprecedented momentum after the commanding straight sets victory. Russ Rose acknowledged the students’ impact on the game, and thanked them for showing such incredible support. The Lions outhit Stanford significantly in each set, and contributed to the commanding victory.
Next up for the Nittany Lions will be a trip to South Bend, Indiana for the Golden Dome Invitational. Penn State will take on Eastern Kentucky on September 11 at 4:30 p.m.