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No. 8 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Defeats Maryland 3-2 In Five-Set Showdown

No. 8 Penn State women’s volleyball continued its impressive start to the season Friday night in a 3-2 thriller against Maryland at Rec Hall.

Jonni Parker and Gabby Blossom both recorded double-doubles in the 18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 14-25, 15-6 win over the Terrapins.

How It Happened

Penn State’s starting lineup consisted of outside hitter/right side Jonni Parker, middle blockers Kaitlyn Hord, Serena Gray, and Tori Gorrell, setter Gabby Blossom, and defensive specialists Keeton Holcomb and Kendall White.

Maryland stunned Penn State by taking the first set 25-18. The Terrapins looked unbelievable on both sides of the ball, as they hit .486 in the opening set and seemed to have nearly every ball bounce their way.

Despite the frustrating start to the match, the Nittany Lions ironed out the kinks and dominated the second set through and through, winning 25-20 to even the match at one apiece. Jonni Parker sealed the deal with a service ace.

Penn State continued to roll and won set three 25-19, but dropped set four 14-25 due to sloppy play all around. The Nittany Lions managed to overcome the difficult night in the fifth and deciding set, winning it 15-6 and taking the match 3-2.

Although she once again came off the bench, Allyson Cathey put together yet another impressive peformance against Maryland. The sophomore outside hitter racked up 11 kills and added four total blocks — something she’s been trying to work on in practice.

Four Nittany Lions — Gray (13), Parker (13), Cathey (11), and Gorrell (9) — finished the match with more than nine kills. Hitting was up-and-down throughout the night, as the Nittany Lions hit above .250 in sets two, three, and five, but hit .190 and .000 in the first and fourth sets, respectively.

Parker and setter Gabby Blossom both recorded double-doubles in the match. The sophomore sensation notched 13 kills and 11 digs, while Blossom dished out 43 assists and 12 digs.

Kendall White recorded 21 digs in Friday’s match, which moved her into second place in Penn State history with a career total of 1,705. She needs just 253 more to become the program’s all-time leader.

“I thought Maryland played really well,” head coach Russ Rose said. “I’m not surprised. They had a near-perfect first game, and we really had to battle. We had a few players put in really good performances. It was a typical Big Ten match where you have to play really hard and battle to the end.”

“I thought the girls did really well bouncing back after we had some tough times out there,” defensive specialist Emily Sciorra said. “I think, overall, our fight — we all came together and knew we had that game and took care of business at the end.”

Player Of The Match

Kendall White | Libero

21 digs and five assists — what more can you ask of a libero? White had an all-around fantastic game against the Terrapins, exemplifying why she’s destined to go down at one of Penn State’s all-time greats.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions (11-3, 4-1 Big Ten) will return to Rec Hall Saturday night for their annual “Dig Pink” match. The team will wear pink jerseys in support of breast cancer survivors and the Side-Out Foundation in the match, which will begin at 8 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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