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Women’s Volleyball Sweeps No. 18 Michigan State In Rec Hall

While students were getting ready for Kanye West across town, Russ Rose’s 16th-ranked Nittany Lions welcomed No. 18 Michigan State to Rec Hall on a rainy Friday evening in State College.

Penn State (11-3, 3-0 Big Ten) rolled to a straight-sets victory (25-22, 25-20, 25-13) over the Spartans thanks to strong matches from Simone Lee and Ali Frantti.

How It Happened

The Spartans (12-3, 1-2 Big Ten) started strong by opening up an early lead in the first set, but junior outside hitters Simone Lee and Ali Frantti piloted an impressive Penn State rally, combining for 10 kills in a 25-22 victory. Neither side could get much going from a blocking perspective in the first frame, however, as Alyssa Garvelink recorded the lone stat for Michigan State. She would eventually lead the Spartans with nine kills on the night, made possible by setter Rachel Minarick’s big night. The junior out of Naperville, Ill., did a little bit of everything with 21 assists, nine digs, four kills, a service ace, and a block.

Head coach Cathy George’s Spartans stuck with the ladies in blue and white for much of the second set before Lee, Frantti, and Haleigh Washington poured it on to give Penn State a big 25-20 win and the chance to finish off the sweep. Redshirt freshman Tori Gorrell would lead the Nittany Lions with two blocks and six kills on the night, while fellow middle blocker Heidi Thelen posted two kills and block of her own. Defensive specialists Keeton Holcomb and Lainy Pierce added an extra element to Penn State’s passing game with eight and three digs, respectively, on the way to a 25-13 third-set clincher.

Lee and Frantti would finish with 12 and 10 kills to lead the Nittany Lions and the match offensively. Junior setter Abby Detering dished out a match-high 34 assists, coupled with five digs, two kills, and a block in helping Penn State to a stress-free victory. Freshman libero Kendall White, who flashed her signature hustle on a phenomenal backwards one-armed save, provided a match-high 11 digs.

Player Of The Match

Ali Frantti | Junior | Outside hitter

The Spring Grove, Ill., native stepped up for the Nittany Lions with 10 kills and four digs.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will be back in Rec Hall Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. for a huge match against No. 22 Michigan.

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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

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