No. 1 Women’s Volleyball ‘Digs Pink’ In 3-0 Win Over Iowa
Despite dropping their first match of the season last night against No. 4 Nebraska, the top-ranked Nittany Lions returned to Rec Hall eager to get back on track versus Iowa.
Penn State’s eighth annual “Dig Pink” match, in partnership with the Side-Out Foundation, was a resounding success. The Nittany Lions swept past Iowa in straight sets (26-24, 25-16, 25-23) to reach 14-1 (3-1 B1G) on the season, while the unranked Hawkeyes fell to 10-7 (0-4 B1G).
How It Happened
Penn State fed off the high-energy atmosphere of its home crowd, tallying some emphatic points early on against the Hawkeyes. However, Iowa didn’t let the raucous environment bother it, building a sizable lead before the Nittany Lions were able to battle back toward the end of the first set.
Middle blocker Jess Janota got things going offensively for the Hawkeyes with a few impressive kills, but Penn State clutched up to capture the set 26-24, thanks to a dominant frame from outside hitter Megan Courtney.
The Nittany Lions dug their sneakers in for another back-and-forth tussle in the second set, but redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney found an extra gear to put Penn State out in front for good. Russ Rose’s ladies poured it on to the delight of the blue and white (and pink) faithful as they delivered a stress-free 25-16 victory.
Head Coach Bond Shymansky’s Hawkeyes raced out to an early lead in the third set, but Penn State wasn’t interested in going the distance like it did the night before in its loss to the Cornhuskers. Despite a late-set scare by Iowa, Rose’s squad prevailed 25-23 by displaying some signature composure down the stretch.
Iowa’s Lauren Brobst and Jess Janota turned in solid matches with nine and ten kills respectively, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the straight-set sweep. Penn State sophomore middle blocker Haleigh Washington continued to add to her outstanding season with another big-time performance, registering 11 kills, and assisting on three blocks.
Player Of The Match
Megan Courtney, come on down. The senior from Dayton, Ohio, had herself one heck of a match Saturday night, eclipsing 1,000 career kills in the victory. Courtney finished with 12 kills and 13 digs for yet another double-double.
Penn State will travel to Champaign for a televised tilt with No. 7 Illinois Friday, Oct. 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The match will air on the Big Ten Network.