Women’s Volleyball Sweeps West Virginia In Penn State Classic
Russ Rose’s ninth-ranked Nittany Lions opened their 2016 season Friday night with a stress-free 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-17) sweep over West Virginia in the Penn State Classic at Rec Hall.
Penn State opened with a starting lineup of Abby Detering, SImone Lee, Ali Frantti, Tori Gorrell, Haleigh Washington, Heidi Thelen, and true freshman Kendall White at libero.
How It Happened
Junior outside hitters Ali Frantti and Simone Lee set the pace early on for the Nittany Lion offense with four kills apiece in the first set. Russ Rose wasn’t sure who his starting setter would be at Tuesday’s media availability, but clearly Florida transfer Abby Detering took hold of the position in the final few practices over incumbent Bryanna Weiskircher. The 6-foot junior finished with 11 assists in the first frame, which saw Penn State roll to an easy 25-13 win.
Frantti and Lee again came out swinging and middle blocker Tori Gorrell started to turn it on as well with five kills of her own through two sets. The Oakville, Ontario, native evidently used her redshirt year well and it’s paying big dividends for the Nittany Lions, who barely broke a sweat in another 25-13 second-set victory. Junior Haleigh Washington came alive with five kills in the second frame to balance out Penn State’s attack. Nearly all of head West Virginia’s offense came from outside hitter Peyton Caffrey, as the freshman tallied 11 of 15 kills for head coach Reed Sunahara’s Mountaineers during the first two sets. She would finish with a match-high 18 kills.
The Nittany Lions operated with impressive efficiency in the third set, out-hitting West Virginia with a committee approach from Washington, Lee, Frantti, and Gorrell. Washington and Lee led the team with 10 kills apiece Friday night, while Gorrell added six kills and three blocks in her debut. Though the Mountaineers hung around a bit longer, Penn State rolled to a 25-17 win to close out the sweep. Kendall White played with poise beyond her years in her first-career start, finishing with 16 digs and a pair of assists.
Player Of The Match
Abby Detering | Junior | Setter
The Mentor, Ohio, native infused a natural flow into the Penn State offense which was often unseen last season. Detering finished her first match in the blue and white with an outstanding 29 assists, five digs, and three kills.
“It was an amazing experience having all of the fans there and it just felt like everyone was right there with you — the band was awesome too,” Detering said following the match. “But it was a really fun first game.”
“I thought she was the only one that blocked well. Tori’s a pretty enthusiastic person,” Rose said of his middle blocker. “She’s a little undersized for that position in the Big Ten, but I think she can compete a little bit in spurts…I thought she had a good opening night.”
Penn State returns to Rec Hall Saturday for a 10:00 a.m. start with Georgia Southern and a primetime showdown against North Carolina at 7:00 p.m.