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No. 12 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Wins Fifth Straight, Sweeps Michigan State

No. 12 Penn State women’s volleyball (9-5) dominated Michigan State (2-9) for a second time this weekend Saturday night. The Nittany Lions won in three sets (25-13, 25-21, 25-11).

Freshman outside hitter Annie Cate Fitzpatrick led the Nittany Lions with eight kills in the match.

How It Happened

After a back and forth battle for the first few points of the first set, Penn State grabbed the lead at 6-3 thanks to a solo block from junior middle blocker Serena Gray and an ace by junior libero Jenna Hampton. A block by Kudryashova followed by a kill junior setter Gabby Blossom gave the Nittany Lions a 12-6 lead over the Spartans.

Back-to-back kills by middle hitter Kaitlyn Hord and a block by junior opposite hitter Jonni Parker gave Penn State an 18-8 advantage. Strong hitting and blocking from the Nittany Lions helped them to take the win over Michigan State, 25-13.

The Spartans gave Penn State more of a challenge at the start of the second set, tying the set at 5-5. Kills by Gray and freshman outside hitter Annie Cate Fitzpatrick and an ace by Parker gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the match at 8-5 on a 3-0 scoring run. But, a service error plus a kill by Cecilee Max-Brown allowed Michigan State to close the gap at 8-7.

After plenty of back and forth play, kills by Kudryashova and Fitzpatrick gave Penn State the momentum to take the lead at 20-17 before the Spartans came back at 20-19.

In the end, Penn State closed the second set on a service error by Michigan State’s Molly Johnson. The Nittany Lions won set two 25-21.

Penn State began the third set strong with a 6-1 lead thanks to an ace by freshman defensive specialist Maddy Bilinovic and a block by Hord on top of offensive errors by Michigan State.

The Nittany Lions utilized the Spartans’ offensive errors to their advantage, advancing their lead to 13-5. A block by Kudryashova and an ace by junior defensive specialist Keatan Broughton propelled Penn State’s lead to 17-5 against Michigan State.

The Spartans were never able to catch the Nittany Lions in the third and final set. Back-to-back kills by Fitzpatrick, an ace by Parker, and a kill by Gray shut Michigan State out at the end of the match. The Nittany Lions won 25-11.

Gray ended the match with seven kills and an impressive .455 hitting percentage. Kudryashova and Hord tied with six kills apiece on the night.

Player Of The Match

Annie Cate Fitzpatrick | Outside Hitter

Fitzpatrick finished the match with eight kills and a stellar .500 hitting percentage. She also totaled six digs.

What’s Next?

Penn State won’t have a match until Friday, March 26, against top-ranked Wisconsin. First serve is set for 9 p.m. at Rec Hall.

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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