No. 1 Women’s Volleyball Moves Past Scrappy Maryland In Four Sets
It wasn’t always pretty, but newly ranked No. 1 Penn State (22-2, 11-2) picked up a road victory over Maryland (12-15, 2-11) in four sets (21-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-22).
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions got off to a sluggish start in the first set, always having to play catchup against the Terrapins. Penn State kept it close the entire set, but Maryland was able to pull away after going up 18-17. While sophomore Haleigh Washington had a kill out of a timeout to make it 21-19, the Terrapins would go onto win the opening set 25-21 in what was a shocking turn of events for the No. 1 team in the country.
Penn State still had its troubles in the second set, but Russ Rose’s group played much more confidently after dropping the first set. Senior Megan Courtney’s kill gave the Nittany Lions an 18-10 lead, and although Maryland went on a 3-0 stretch late, Penn State was still able to prevail, winning the second set 25-17 and knotting things up at one set apiece going into the third.
The Nittany Lions finally played like the No. 1 team in the country in the third set as they raced out to an 8-2 lead, forcing the Terrapins to take an early timeout. The stoppage of play did nothing to kill Penn State’s momentum, as the Nittany Lions continued to play dominant volleyball. Redshirt freshman Bryanna Weiskircher scored the set-winning point for Penn State, securing a 25-12 win and taking a 2-1 set lead into the fourth set.
The fourth set proved to be a seesaw battle with Maryland and Penn State trading blows throughout the set. Maryland used a four point swing to take a 18-17 lead, but Penn State redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney went to work. Whitney had a kill that gave the Nitttany Lions a 20-18 lead, but the Terrapins fought back, tying things up at 22-22. After a Russ Rose timeout, Whitney again scored a point to push Penn State ahead 23-22. The redshirt senior would combine with Washington for a block that secured Penn State’s 25-22 fourth set victory, and a 3-1 set win over Maryland.
Player Of The Game
Haleigh Washington played a terrific game, but it would be an injustice if Aiyana Whitney didn’t win Player of the Game honors. Whitney finished with 18 kills — tying her career-high — and played her best volleyball when the Nittany Lions needed her most.
Penn State is right back in action when it travels to take on Rutgers at 7 p.m on Friday, November 5.