Penn State Women’s Volleyball Falls To No. 4 Texas 3-1 In NCAA Tournament

No. 13 Penn State women’s volleyball (10-6) ended its season in a loss to No. 4 Texas (24-1) Sunday evening. The Longhorns beat the Nittany Lions in four sets (23-25, 25-18, 30-28, 25-17) to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.

Texas hitter Skylar Fields finished the match with 21 kills and a .500 hitting percentage to lead the Longhorns over Penn State.

How It Happened

Texas started off the first set strong with three kills from Skylar Fields to give the Longhorns an 8-4 lead over the Nittany Lions. However, Penn State still remained close behind thanks to strong hitting from junior opposite hitter Jonni Parker, despite an equally strong offense from Texas.

Despite trailing the Longhorns by a few points throughout most of the set, Penn State was finally able to catch Texas by the end, tying the score twice at 22 and 23 points apiece. Penn State won the first set 25-23 on a block from Parker and junior middle hitter Serena Gray and a kill by freshman outside hitter Annie Cate Fitzpatrick.

The second set of the night started off just as close as the first one. Both Penn State and Texas battled back and forth for the first few points before the Longhorns took the lead at 7-3 on kills by Asjia O’Neal and Logan Eggleston.

Serving and attacking errors from the Nittany Lions and impressive hitting from the Longhorns allowed Texas to take its lead to 11-5. Like the first set, Penn State trailed behind Texas for the majority of the set and found some momentum toward the end on kills from Parker and junior middle hitter Kaitlyn Hord bringing the score to 24-18.

But in the end, the Nittany Lions couldn’t catch the Longhorns. Back-to-back blocks from Molly Phillips and Brionne Butler only fueled Texas’s lead. Texas won the second set 25-18, closing out the second set on a kill from Eggleston and a hitting error from Parker.

Penn State and Texas battled back and forth for the third set, tying the set nine times up until 10-10 before Texas finally took the lead at 12-10 on a kill by Eggleston. The Nittany Lions came right back and tied the score 12-12 on a block and kill by Hord.

After tying the game five more times, Penn State finally took the lead at 20-18 on a kill from Hord and an ace by freshman defensive specialist Maddy Bilinovic. Despite Penn State having the upper hand, Texas won the third set 28-30. The third frame featured a whopping 21 ties.

Texas carried its momentum from the third set into the fourth, taking a 4-1 lead from an ace from Morgan O’Brien and a kill by Eggleston. Penn State closed the gap to 7-5 on a kill by Parker and two attack errors from O’Neal and Eggleston. However, it was short-lived, as Texas quickly brought its lead to 11-5 following an ace by Eggleston and a kill by O’Neal.

Ultimately, the Longhorns’ offense proved to be too much for the Nittany Lions. Texas won the final set 25-17 on a kill from Butler. Eggleston finished the night with 22 kills, while Skylar Fields ended the match with 21 kills. Jhenna Gabriel earned 55 assists for the Longhorns.

Player Of The Game

Skylar Fields | Opposite Hitter

Texas’ Skylar Fields finished the match with 21 kills and an impressive .500 hitting percentage. She also contributed two digs and just three hitting errors.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions’ season has officially come to a close. Thanks for following along with us, folks. We’ll see you back in Rec Hall in August!

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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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