Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Rhode Island In Penn State Invitational
Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions took care of business in their return to Rec Hall Friday night, knocking off Rhode Island in the Penn State Invitational. No. 20 Penn State (6-3) looked like a revived team offensively as it swept the Rams 3-0 (25-6, 25-18, 25-13).
How It Happened
Penn State, fresh off a successful 3-0 weekend at the Syracuse Classic, hustled to a 5-0 lead in the first set and refused to relinquish control. Junior Simone Lee was every bit her dominant self Friday night in front of a home crowd for the first time in three weeks. The Menomonee Falls, Wis., racked up a match-high five kills to help the Nittany Lions open with an easy 25-6 win, while middle blocker Haleigh Washington matched her step-for-step with some early offense and a handful of key blocks.
Penn State battled through a back-and-forth start to its second set before pulling away thanks in large part to junior setter Abby Detering’s point guard mentality. Detering, who would finish with 27 assists, five digs, four kills, and two blocks, made sure her middle blockers Tori Gorrell and Heidi Thelen got involved, which helped the Nittany Lions roll to a 25-18 victory by brushing off some “rookie errors” as Coach Rose would call them after the match.
Sophomores Audrey Castro and Layne Self combined for 15 kills to pace head coach Bob Schneck’s Rams. Washington and Lee would finish with 11 and 10 kills, respectively, while Gorrell and Thelen added 10 between them. Freshman libero Kendall White had a strong night on the defensive end with a match-high 10 digs and four assists for the Nittany Lions, who would cap the sweep with a quick 25-13 win.
Detering and Washington discussed how they were able to build such a successful connection against the Rams. “Just looking at each other, making sure if we didn’t get that one, get the next ball,” Detering said following the match. “Sometimes the connection’s a little off on the first two balls, and as a hitter, you need to be able to adjust to that and have confidence that the connection will get there,” Washington added. “A couple of sets may have been off, but you believe that Abby’s got it and she’ll get you that good ball and you can swing.”
Player Of The Match
Haleigh Washington | Junior | Middle blocker
The Colorado Springs, Colo., native turned in arguably her most impressive outing of the season with 11 kills, five blocks, and two digs Friday night.
Penn State will be back in Rec Hall Saturday for a doubleheader against Howard at 10:00 a.m. and Clemson at 7:00 p.m.