Penn State Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Michigan State In Big Ten Opener

No. 5 Penn State women’s volleyball opened Big Ten play with a sweep over Michigan State Wednesday night at Rec Hall.

Jonni Parker’s match-high 16 kills gave Penn State the edge in the 26-24, 25-21, 25-18 victory against the Spartans.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions began the match with a commanding 3-0 run, sparked by a Serena Gray kill. Penn State went on to win the back-and-forth opening set 26-24 thanks to an emphatic block by Allyson Cathey and Kaitlyn Hord.

Penn State began the second set with a string of sloppy hitting errors, trailing by as many as three points early on. The team cleaned up its attack and eventually took the set 25-21 thanks to great blocking from Serena Gray, Jonni Parker, and Kaitly Hord. The trio combined for 10 blocks by the time the match ended.

The Nittany Lions finally found their groove in the third set, coasting to a 25-18 victory thanks to a whopping .556 team hitting clip.

Setter Gabby Blossom dished out just 28 assists in the match — her lowest mark so far this season.

To no one’s surprise, Kendall White recorded an impressive 14 digs in yet another standout defensive performance. Gabby Blossom and Jonni Parker tacked on eight and four, respectively.

Many of Penn State’s points came from errors on Michigan State’s part. The Spartans recorded a whopping 22 hitting errors in addition to 12 service errors.

Following the match, Russ Rose noted that he was disappointed in a number of aspects of his team’s play during the match. He listed hitting discipline, concentration, and ball control as key areas of focus moving forward.

All statistics aside, Wednesday night’s match was about more than just volleyball.

The team kicked off the night’s contest with its first-ever “Silent Set” to raise awareness and support for the International Week of the Deaf. Fans were encouraged to remain silent from the first serve until the Nittany Lions scored their ninth point.

The number was specifically chosen with No. 9 Jonni Parker in mind, as she was born with a rare condition that limits her hearing to 40 percent in her left ear and 45 in her right.

“It was cool. I want to thank everyone for participating in [the “Silent Set”] tonight,” Parker said after the match. “It was a good cause. I’m glad we could raise awareness for [the International Week of the Deaf]. I hope we continue to do it.”

Player Of The Match

Jonni Parker | Right Side/Outside Hitter

Parker wasn’t just the center of attention with regards to tonight’s special promotion. The sophomore totaled 16 kills, four digs, and two blocks in Penn State’s rout over Michigan State.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions (8-2, 1-0 Big Ten) will return to Rec Hall to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday, September 28. First serve is set for 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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