No. 1 Women’s Volleyball Takes Down Wisconsin in Straight-Sets
The top-ranked Penn State women’s volleyball team got its Big Ten season underway in front of a White Out crowd Wednesday night in Rec Hall against No. 16 Wisconsin.
Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions entered the Big Ten opener 11-0 on the year, while Wisconsin Head Coach Kelly Sheffield’s squad came to University Park sporting an 8-2 record. Penn State survived a resilient run from the Badgers before hitting its stride in a dominant second set performance, one that proved key to the team’s straight-set victory. The Nittany Lions improved to 12-0 (1-0 Big Ten), while Wisconsin fell to 8-3 (0-1 Big Ten).
How It Happened
Penn State fought back and forth with the talented Badgers throughout the first set, which featured 10 tied points and three lead changes. Sophomore middle blocker Haleigh Washington and senior outside hitter Megan Courtney provided a big-time spark in the opening frame, willing the Nittany Lions to a 25-21 first set victory.
The ladies in blue and white maintained the momentum following the break. Rose’s squad came out firing in the second set, steadily building a sizable lead over the Badgers early. Wisconsin, led by standout performances from outside hitter Kelli Bates and setter Lauren Carlini, pushed, but simply couldn’t hang with the Nittany Lions, who captured the second set 25-16.
The Badgers were hungry to fend off a straight-set victory and gave Penn State a tough, back-and-forth battle to sbegin the third frame. Sophomore outside hitter Ali Frantti turned flipped the switch, contributing a couple essential kills to put the Nittany Lions ahead midway through the set. Penn State would remain in front, outlasting the Badgers 25-20 to secure the straight-set win Wednesday night.
Penn State received dominating performances from Frantti, Washington, and Courtney, who finished with 14, 11, and 10 kills respectively. Courtney added 14 digs to secure the double-double. The Nittany Lions looked steady all match long, as usual, and parlayed that into a stress-free victory over the team they beat in the 2013 NCAA National Championship in Seattle.
The Nittany Lions will stay home for their next three matches. This Saturday, Sept. 26, Rose’s squad will look to make it 13-0 when they take on No. 21 Minnesota at 8 p.m. in Rec Hall.