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No. 12 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Falls 3-1 To No. 24 Georgia Tech To Open Season

Penn State women’s volleyball’s fall season got off on the wrong foot Friday morning.

Down in Florida for the UCF Challenge, the No. 12 Nittany Lions couldn’t keep up with No. 24 Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets took down Penn State 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 17-25, 25-19) to open their season.

How It Happened

Penn State’s first point of the match came easily thanks to a Georgia Tech hitting error. Kills from Jonni Parker and Kaitlyn Hord put Penn State up 3-2 early on in the first frame. However, moments later, a 3-0 run put the Yellow Jackets up 5-3 over the Nittany Lions.

Georgia Tech took control of the game for a bit and eventually took a 9-6 lead. However, an ace from Parker gave the Nittany Lions a 14-12 lead over the Yellow Jackets, prompting Georgia Tech to burn its first timeout. Penn State called a timeout of its own once Georgia Tech rattled off a 6-2 run to go up 18-16.

The Yellow Jackets’ strong play continued, ultimately leading to a set point at 24-19. Georgia Tech’s Erin Moss notched a kill to win the set 25-20 and give her team a 1-0 lead in the match.

Friday’s second set fared even worse for Penn State. The Nittany Lions couldn’t keep up with the Yellow Jackets’ attack and quickly found themselves down 16-7 thanks to a 12-3 scoring run.

Georgia Tech’s dominance continued to the tune of a 25-16 win in set two, putting the team up 2-0 over Penn State. In that frame, the Yellow Jackets hit .619 from the floor and contributed just four hitting errors.

A quick 5-1 run got Penn State out of its funk to begin the third frame. The Nittany Lions played well throughout the set and efficiently worked their way to a 25-17 win, dashing Georgia Tech’s hopes of a sweep.

Strong hitting and minimal errors propelled Penn State’s set three win. The Nittany Lions hit .379 as a team and didn’t cough up a single service or blocking error.

With the match effectively on the line, Penn State picked up the pace to begin the fourth set. Ultimately, though, a few bursts from the Yellow Jackets were enough to distance themselves from Penn State and cruise to a 25-19 win, ultimately taking the match 3-1.

Takeaways

  • Much like last year, Penn State’s troubles originated at the service line. The Nittany Lions coughed up 13 service errors in Friday’s match, accounting for about 14% of Georgia Tech’s points on the day.
  • Newcomers Adanna Rollins and Erika Pritchard started Friday’s match and made their Penn State debuts after transferring from Minnesota and Maryland, respectively. The duo combined for 14 kills and five total blocks throughout the match. Pritchard pitched in two service aces, too.
  • Sophomore Allie Holland flashed some skills in her first-ever start fooro the Nittany Lions. She hit .250 on the day and contributed six kills, plus six total blocks. If she can sustain that production and improve, Holland could easily help negate Serena Gray’s transfer to Pitt.
  • As always, Katilyn Hord and Jonni Parker shined. She racked up 11 kills on a ridiculously accurate .579 hitting clip. Seven total blocks isn’t too shabby, either. Parker, meanwhile, pitched in 10 kills, an ace, and eight digs. High-level play from these two seniors will be key if Penn State wants to improve from last spring’s uncharacteristically average season.
  • Although it didn’t receive the desired outcome, it’s good to note Penn State can already hang with ranked teams. No. 24 Georgia Tech was Penn State’s first ranked season-opening opponent since the Nittany Lions faced No. 12 Hawaii to begin the 2008 season. That match ended in a Penn State sweep.
  • The Nittany Lions are now 3-1 all-time against Georgia Tech. Penn State first faced the Yellow Jackets in 1993 but hadn’t played them since 1996 before Friday’s match.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions get a few hours to rest before facing St. John’s at 4 p.m. on Friday. They’ll later take on UCF on Saturday, August 28, to wrap up the UCF Challenge.

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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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