Penn State Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Wichita State
No. 8 Penn State women’s volleyball wrapped up a Saturday doubleheader at Rec Hall with a 3-0 sweep over Wichita State.
Serena Gray’s career-high 18 kills gave the Nittany Lions the edge in the 25-14, 25-14, 25-7 victory against the Shockers.
How It Happened
Russ Rose rolled out his usual starting lineup consisting of middle blockers Tori Gorrell, Kaitlyn Hord, and Serena Gray, right side Jonni Parker, setter Gabby Bossom, outside hitter Allyson Cathey, and libero Kendall White.
Although Gabby Blossom got things started with a service ace to put the Nittany Lions ahead early, the team trailed the Shockers for a good portion of the first set. A slew of kills by Hord and Gray (four and five in the first set, respectively) helped Penn State climb back and take the set comfortably.
Penn State’s third win of the season was smooth sailing from that point on, and the victory was certainly a team effort. Sophomore sensations Gray (18), Parker (8), and Hord (6) each finished with more than five kills.
Blossom continued shining in her new full-time role as starting setter for the Nittany Lions. The Saint Louis, Missouri native totaled 36 assists, three aces, and a kill in her fourth career start at the position.
Defensive specialists Jenna Hampton and Keeton Holcomb saw a good chunk of playing time off the bench in Saturday night’s match. Hampton logged six digs, while Holcomb tallied seven digs and two aces.
“I thought [the win over Wichita State] was a good ending to a couple of matches today,” said head coach Russ Rose. “We had a number of players contribute in different ways. Obviously, tonight we had Serena [Gray] have a terrific night offensively. I thought Allyson [Cathtey’s] ball-handling was really good tonight. Tori took some good swings and had some good touches at the net.”
Rose noted that the annual tournament serves as a good starting point for his players, allowing them to develop some swagger and grow as a team before taking on tougher opponents later on in the season.
“Dope,” Gray said on her record-breaking performance. “That’s all. It’s exciting.”
Player of the Match
Serena Gray | Middle Blocker
The Temple City, California native recorded a career-high 18 kills on .708 hitting in the Nittany Lions’ victory. Gray was named MVP of the Penn State Classic tournament for her efforts throughout the weekend’s slate of matches. She joins Gabby Blossom, Jonni Parker, and Kendall White on the Penn State Classic’s All-Tournament team.
The Nittany Lions (3-0) will head west to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State and LSU as part of the Cyclone Invitational on September 6 and September 7, respectively.
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With barely six weeks until the first ball is kicked for the 2020 campaign, let’s see how the Nittany Lions might line up.
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