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Women’s Volleyball Takes Doubleheader At Syracuse Classic

Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions won their second and third matches of the Syracuse Classic over Hofstra and the tournament-host Orange Saturday in doubleheader action.

No. 17 Penn State (5-3) dropped the Pride 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-12, 25-11) by turning on the jets in the third and fourth sets behind 21 kills from junior Simone Lee, while the nightcap also swung in favor of the Nittany Lions 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-12).

How It Happened

Match One

Penn State played a pair of close sets to open its morning against Hofstra, but junior Abby Detering, who has essentially won the starting setter job over Bryanna Weiskircher, spread the ball around with confidence as the match wore on. Detering would set a new career-high with 41 assists, while also leading the Nittany Lions with 10 digs. The Mentor, Ohio, native added four assisted blocks, three kills, and a service ace in her most complete outing of the season.

On the receiving end of Detering’s deft passes, Simone Lee and middle blockers Haleigh Washington and Tori Gorrell paced the Nittany Lions with 21, 11, and seven kills, respectively. Lee came up just short of tying her career-high of 23 set against North Carolina. Gorrell led Penn State at the net with eight total blocks to help her team run away from head coach Emily Mansur’s Pride, though she had three players reach double-figure kills in Nanishka Perez (13), Veronika Kostova (11), and Leticia Valente (10).

Sophomore Keeton Holcomb cracked the starting lineup as a defensive specialist for the first time this season after starting the majority of last year at libero. Holcomb and her successor — freshman Kendall White — finished with three and seven digs apiece.

Freshman Emily DeMure out of Granite Bay, Calif., rotated in for the first time, but didn’t record a stat in her Penn State debut. Classmate Emily Sciorra recorded a dig in her second collegiate match. Ali Frantti, Lainy Pierce, and Heid Thelen played in all four sets for the Nittany Lions, contributing steady performances to round out the scoring in their first match victory.

Match Two

Rose’s ladies made easy work of their second match by sweeping Syracuse behind another stellar performance from Lee, who finished with a match-high 18 kills and five digs, doubling up head coach Leonid Yelin’s leading scorer Mackenzie Weaver. Detering was phenomenal once again for the Nittany Lions, posting 39 assists, 11 digs, and four kills in the straight-set victory. Middle blocker Heidi Thelen followed Lee’s lead by turning in a great match of her own with 10 kills — good for second-most among all players.

White tied Syracuse’s Jalissa Trotter for the benchmark in digs with 12 apiece. Gorrell stayed hot on the blocking end with seven total, while adding four digs. Ali Frantti kept up her balanced output with six kills and eight digs, while Washington provided five kills on the night.

Player Of The Day

Simone Lee | Junior | Outside hitter

Lee has been Penn State’s most consistent offensive threat throughout non-conference play and her breakout season continued in Upstate New York with 39 combined kills. Lee added nine digs, four blocks, and two service aces Saturday.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall for the first time in nearly three weeks when they host Rhode Island in the Penn State Invitational this coming Friday at 7:00 p.m. Howard (10:00 a.m.) and Clemson (7:00 p.m.) are on deck for the following day.

About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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