No. 3 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Rolls By No. 11 Buckeyes 3-1
Russ Rose’s third-ranked Nittany Lions fed off the high-energy environment of a packed Rec Hall Friday night. Penn State came out firing in a rematch of this past Wednesday’s tilt in Columbus that resulted in a straight-set victory over No. 11 Ohio State.
Penn State (21-2, 10-2 B1G) reached double-digit wins in conference play by dropping the Buckeyes (19-5, 8-4 B1G) for the second time in as many matches, 3-1. Sorry Brutus, the ladies in blue and white have your team’s number, even if this one took slightly longer than usual.
*Fun Fact: The Nittany Lions have successfully tallied at least 20 wins per season for the past 39 years.
How It Happened
Sophomore middle blocker Haleigh Washington continued her fantastic play by setting the tone early on the offensive end with a whopping six kills in the first set. The Nittany Lions spread the ball around and showed tenacity on defense to blow by Ohio State 25-15 in the opening frame.
In just her second match back after recovering from a foot injury, senior outside hitter Megan Courtney was every bit her dominant self. Courtney, her signature pink ribbon along for the ride, unleashed a litany of thunderous kills with ease. The Dayton, Ohio native nearly picked up a double-double but fell just short, finishing with nine kills and 10 digs. Ohio State struggled at times to keep its composure in front of a rocking Rec crowd as Geoff Carlson’s squad fell victim to a handful of costly net violations throughout the match.
Kendall Pierce (No. 3) strikes a serve against the 11th-ranked Buckeyes.
Washington and Courtney continued to trade emphatic kills in the second set, while true freshman libero Keeton Holcomb and senior defensive specialist Kendall Pierce provided stellar hustle and a deluge of digs. The pair would finish with 12 and eight on the night respectively. Penn State made quick work of the second set with a 25-16 win.
Ohio State wasn’t interested in losing its sixth straight set to Nittany Lions this season, though. Carlson’s bunch put together a valiant third frame, trading punches with the home team the whole way before holding on for a 25-19 victory to extend the match. True freshman outside hitter Audra Appold was tremendous, posting a match-high 15 kills to lead the Buckeyes’ offense.
Haleigh Washington (No. 15), Heidi Thelen (No. 19), and Nia Reed (No. 6) take in some of the action.
Penn State made the needed adjustments and came out firing in the fourth set. Once the Nittany Lions regained confidence in their precision passing, the combination of Washington and redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney (13 kills apiece) pushed Penn State over the top Friday night. In their biggest margin of victory on the evening, the Lions dished out a 25-14 win to seal the match 3-1.
After singing the alma mater, teammates and Penn State fans alike serenaded sophomore defensive specialist Lainy Pierce with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.
Player Of The Match
Haleigh Washington | Middle blocker | No. 15
The sophomore from Colorado Springs, Colo. put on a clinic with 13 kills and four blocks, each of which triggered a deafening roar to energize the crowd of 4,931.
No. 3 Penn State will get to rest up before traveling to College Park for a showdown with unranked Maryland this coming Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET.