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No. 12 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Cruises To Sweep Over Michigan State

No. 12 Penn State women’s volleyball continued its hot streak Friday night by sweeping Michigan State (25-18, 25-17, 25-14) on the road.

The Nittany Lions are now riding a four-match win streak following Friday’s victory, which was their first road win of the season.

How It Happened

Penn State started the match hot thanks to strong play from middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord. She racked up three kills early to help Penn State jump out to a 4-2 lead over the Spartans.

The Nittany Lions quickly got into a groove and found little resistance from Michigan State throughout the first frame. Good team chemistry led to some eye-popping plays, including this huge swing from Anastasiya Kudryashova.

Freshman hitter Annie Cate Fitzpatrick summoned set point with a kill. Penn State followed up with a wholly strange net violation, but Fitzpatrick responded by taking care of business herself, sending one to the hardwood to give Penn State the 25-18 set win.

Penn State kept on rolling into the second frame. Strong hitting by the Nittany Lions helped them jump out to an easy 7-1 lead over the reeling Spartans.

Penn State’s second set was, as they say in the biz’, an absolute cruise. The Nittany Lions remained in control through and through and never relinquished their consistently sizable lead. Middle blocker Serena Gray sealed things with a kill to win the frame 25-17.

The Nittany Lions continued outpacing Michigan State in match’s third and final set. Penn State traded back and forth points with the Spartans at first, but before you knew it, the team had jumped out to a 10-5 advantage. An ensuing 3-0 run only grew Penn State’s lead even more.

Soon enough, the Nittany Lions iced the match thanks to *another* set-ending kill from Gray, her ninth on the night. Penn State won the third frame 25-15, improving its margin of victory in each set at the night went on.

Takeaways

  • All week long, head coach Russ Rose noted how tough it’d be to plan for a pair of matches against a team that hadn’t played since February 21 due to COVID-19-related pauses. However, Penn State looked plenty prepared for what the Spartans had to offer. The Nittany Lions cruised to an easy (and quick) victory, which should provide plenty of time to rest up before Saturday’s finale. Give credit to Rose for helping the team succeed against a generally uncertain challenge.
  • Penn State’s middle blockers are still a force to be reckoned with. Gray led the team with nine kills on .438 hitting, while Hord pitched in eight kills at a .583 clip. The duo also combined for five blocks.
  • Libero Jenna Hampton also impressed yet again. She led the team with 15 digs, while setter Gabby Blossom pitched in seven herself.
  • For the first time in forever, Penn State posted a clean game from the service line. The Nittany Lions recorded just one service error against the Spartans Friday. Meanwhile, Gray, Hampton, and defensive specialist Molly Russell each posted a service ace.
  • Following Friday night’s win, Penn State has now taken 12 straight matches over the Spartans dating back to 2013. The Nittany Lions have dropped just three sets to Michigan State in that eight-year span. Moreover, Penn State has won 14 straight road matches over the Spartans, with its most recent road loss coming back in 2002.

What’s Next?

Penn State (8-5) will wrap up a two-match series with Michigan State (2-8) on the road Saturday night. First serve against the Spartans is set for 6 p.m. once again.

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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 with distinction 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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