Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



Newcomers Add Depth As Penn State Women’s Volleyball Manages Roster Turnover

It’s been an eventful offseason for Penn State women’s volleyball, to say the least.

No, the Nittany Lions didn’t need to wait 400-plus days to take the court again like they did last year. But unexpected roster turnover, combined with a handful of strong transfer additions, gives Penn State a full workload before its fall season begins.

Luckily, some newcomers are already giving the team a much-needed spark following an uncharacteristically unremarkable season last spring. Erika Pritchard, who transferred to Penn State this summer following four seasons at Maryland, is poised to serve as another weapon in the Nittany Lions’ well-supplied arsenal.

“I’m very impressed with Erika so far, on and off the court,” right side Jonni Parker said Tuesday. “She contributes a lot to our team, and I think she’s going to help us a lot. She’s also a good leader, and she’s very experienced playing in the Big Ten. I think she’s going to help us a lot across the front row and back row this year.”

Although she hasn’t yet taken the court with Penn State in a meaningful match, Pritchard has the pedigree to quickly become a star in Rec Hall. With 1,526 career kills under her belt, Pritchard is the Big Ten’s active all-time kills leader. She’s also padded on 859 digs and 239 total blocks in four seasons.

Lineups are fluid, but Pritchard and Parker — who both earned preseason All-Big Ten honors — seem most likely to serve as Penn State’s go-to hitters this season.

On Tuesday, Pritchard said working in a locker room as talented as Penn State’s helps bring the best out of players.

“We always have such a great attitude as a team, and it’s really awesome to be in the gym with such high talent,” she said. “It makes everyone better, kind of like ‘iron sharpens iron,’ so it’s fun and exciting. We all support each other and help each other in any way we can.”

Penn State gained another strong outside hitter in fellow transfer Adanna Rollins, who comes to Penn State following three seasons with Minnesota.

Last spring, Rollins totaled 186 kills, 187 digs, and 41 total blocks for the Golden Gophers en route to second-team All-Big Ten honors. She was an honorable mention All-American as a freshman in 2018.

Head coach Russ Rose is entering his 43rd season with the Nittany Lions. This fall, he’s keeping it simple and hopes experienced additions will strengthen a locker room that’s ready to take the next step.

“It’s really nice to have some veteran players at critical positions…I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel with them,” Rose said Tuesday. “They were successful where they were because of their talents and the coaching they received. I’m not a person who looks at things and says, ‘Oh, I can change it and make it better.’ I try and explain, ‘This is what our culture is. This is what the expectations are.’ And [we] try to have the best team that we can have every season.”

Rose said Parker and setter Gabby Blossom are most likely to return as Penn State’s team captains this fall. However, he noted both Pritchard and Rollins bring a wealth of experience to the gym that can’t be forgetten.

Pritchard and Rollins’ arrivals in State College certainly come at a good time. Earlier this summer, star middle blocker Serena Gray committed to transfer to Pitt before graduating from Penn State in August.

Gray’s loss is huge — there’s just no way around it. Luckily, though, the Nittany Lions’ newest duo knows a thing or two about making an impact at the net.

“[Pritchard] brings an impressive presence at the net because she touches, like, 10’7″,” middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord said Tuesday. “She’s just a heck of an athlete.”

Rising sophomore middle blocker Allie Holland should help counter Gray’s absence, too. Hord said Holland has worked hard this summer to add more tools to her game.

“She’s always been a very strong blocker, but I think now she’s starting to really improve on her attacks — not only in front of the setter but behind as well,” Hord said.

Only time will tell how quickly Penn State’s newest additions adjust to playing in Rec Hall, but it’s clear the Nittany Lions gained strong additions over the summer.

Penn State’s season begins with a road trip to Florida for the UCF Tournament. The Nittany Lions face Georgia Tech and Saint John’s on Friday, August 27, to kick off their season.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

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.

Follow on Another Platform
State College Links

Pat Freiermuth Trolls Pitt Fan With ‘PSU Is Better!’ Signature

Freiermuth may call Pittsburgh his home now, but he still hasn’t forgotten his roots.

Pat Freiermuth Trolls Pitt Fan With ‘PSU Is Better!’ Signature

Freiermuth may call Pittsburgh his home now, but he still hasn’t forgotten his roots.

Homefield Apparel To Launch Licensed Penn State Merch August 13

Penn State is finally and officially joining the iconic clothing line with a 15-piece collection.

‘Oeuf Boeuf Et Bacon’ French Diner To Open In Former Location Of Baby’s Burgers & Shakes

Oeuf Boeuf et Bacon — which is French for “egg, beef, and bacon” — will tentatively open in September.

Send this to a friend