Women’s Volleyball Advances To Second Round, Tops LIU Brooklyn
No. 16 seed Penn State swept LIU Brooklyn (25-8, 25-16, 25-6) in its NCAA Tournament opener Friday night in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions (23-9, 14-6 Big Ten) will host Pitt, who topped Dayton 3-1, on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line.
How It Happened
Penn State finally got the dominant win it craved in the form of a three-set clinic against the Blackbirds. Junior outside hitter Simone Lee led all players with 12 kills on the night. Setter Abby Detering guided the Nittany to an outstanding .403 hitting percentage, dishing out a match-high 28 assists to go along with 10 digs.
Right side Heidi Thelen turned in a strong performance for Russ Rose’s squad, hitting .500 with eight kills, three digs, and two blocks. Ali Frantti and Tori Gorrell finished with five kills apiece, while Clare Powers, Haleigh Washington, and Nia Reed combined for six more to round out the scoring. Freshman libero Kendall Pierce made her NCAA Tournament debut in impressive fashion, finishing with a match-high 18 digs, two assists, and a service ace.
Sophomore Jiayi Zhang led Ken Ko’s Blackbirds with eight kills, while Alex Larsen provided a team-high seven digs. Penn State improved to 8-0 all-time against LIU Brooklyn in what turned out to be a much-needed offensive explosive. The Nittany Lions also commanded a 10.5-2 advantage in the blocking aspect of the game.
Player Of The Match
Simone Lee | Junior | Outside hitter
The Menomonee Falls, Wis., native boosted high above the net for 12 kills and five blocks, while adding three digs and a service ace.
The Nittany Lions will host Pitt Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. Whichever team prevails will meet the winner of No. 1 seed Nebraska and TCU.