Women’s Volleyball Drops 1-3 Road Tilt To No. 4 Wisconsin
No. 10 Penn State (17-5, 9-2 Big Ten) traveled to Madison for a huge showdown with All-American setter Lauren Carlini and No. 4 Wisconsin Friday night.
Kelly Sheffield’s Badgers took the first two sets in emphatic fashion before eventually putting the Nittany Lions away in four (16-25, 18, 25, 25-18, 21-25) at a sold-out UW Field House.
How It Happened
Carlini and the Wisconsin senior class earned their first victory over the Nittany Lions behind big outings from Lauryn Gillis and true freshman Molly Haggerty, who finished with 21 and 16 kills, respectively. Senior middle blocker Haleigh Nelson put together an extremely efficient night, posting 13 kills on a match-high .500 hitting percentage, while adding five digs and three blocks.
In the anticipated return to her home state, junior outside hitter Simone Lee paced Penn State with 19 kills, but it took her 56 attacks (.179) to reach that mark. Classmates Ali Frantti and Haleigh Washington provided 11 and six kills of their own, while Heidi Thelen would contribute five and four blocks. Tori Gorrell was without a kill on her three swings, but did put up two blocks. Setter Abby Detering was outdueled by Carlini in Madison, as her 36 assists, eight digs, three blocks, and three kills were steady but not enough to propel the Nittany Lions to a comeback.
Despite being down 12-14 midway through the third set, Penn State went on an impressive 13-4 run to extend the evening. The Nittany Lions would cut things to 20-22 in the fourth frame, but Wisconsin capped off the conference win thanks to a match-ending kill from Carlini to Gillis. Kendall White and Keeton Holcomb finished with 18 and 12 digs, respectively, on the defensive end. Junior Kelli Bates, who made the unconventional move from outside hitter to libero for the Badgers this season, led all players with 22 digs.
Player Of The Match
Lauren Carlini | Senior | Setter
The Aurora, Ill., native was tremendous Friday night, finishing with a match-high 57 assists, 17 digs, four blocks, three kills, and two service aces.
The Nittany Lions have another big test scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET at No. 3 Minnesota. Penn State won an emphatic 3-2 thriller over the Golden Gophers earlier this season in Rec Hall.