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No. 17 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Iowa State In Home Opener

Penn State women’s volleyball is getting hot, folks.

The No. 17 Nittany Lions made easy work of Iowa State Friday night and recorded their third straight sweep dating back to last weekend. The team likely earned a substantial boost from 4,000-plus Penn State fans who were in attendance for the first time in nearly two years.

How It Happened

Penn State came out swinging at the start of the first set — literally. Thanks to three kills from Jonni Parker and a kill from Kaitlyn Hord, the Nittany Lions took a 4-2 lead over the Cyclones early in the first set. Back-to-back kills by Allie Holland lifted Penn State to an 8-5 lead and 3-0 scoring run.

The Cyclones struggled majorly with serve-receive throughout the majority of the set, while Penn State dominated offensively. Back-to-back blocks from Parker and Hord and two aces from senior setter Gabby Blossom lifted the Nittany Lion’s lead to 16-8 on a 6-0 scoring run. On Penn State’s 17th (17-9) point of the first set, Parker earned her 1000th kill of her career.

Strong hitting was key to the Nittany Lions’ dominant first-set performance. Despite a late set comeback from the Cyclones, Penn State won the first set 25-18.

The Nittany Lions started the second set just as strongly as the first on kills from Hord and Erika Pritchard with a 4-1 lead. Hord continued to impress with a kill and block to make it an 8-3 lead on a 4-0 scoring run.

Kills from Adanna Rollins, Parker, and Blossom brought Penn State’s lead to 14-6 halfway through the second set. Offensive errors from Iowa State, plus strong hitting from the Nittany Lions, propelled Penn State’s lead to 20-9 and allowed the team to finish the second set with a win. The Nittany Lions won 25-11 on an ace from senior libero Jenna Hampton.

Following the second set, former Penn State women’s volleyball alumnae Micha Hancock and Haleigh Washington were honored following their gold-medal win at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Hancock played for Penn State from 2011 to 2014 and still holds the Nittany Lions’ all-time service ace record with 254 over her career. She won back-to-back national titles with the Nittany Lions in 2013 and 2014.

Washington’s tenure in Happy Valley stretched from 2014 to 2017, when she earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. She was also a three-time All-American and won a national title in 2014.

Unlike the first two sets, the Cyclones took a 4-1 lead over the Nittany Lions on kills from Candelaria Herrera and two attack errors from Parker. Strong serving and hitting from Iowa State gave Iowa State a 7-3 lead for the first time throughout the match.

Kills from Kenzie Mantz and Alexis Englebrecht brought Iowa State’s lead to 11-7 over the Nittany Lions. Attack errors from Penn State only gave the Cyclones the momentum they needed to take a 15-10 lead. However, following attack errors from Iowa State, the Nittany Lions battled back on a 3-0 scoring run to 17-16, one point short of tying the third set.

Penn State was finally (!) able to tie the third set at 21-21 on a kill from Pritchard before tying the game two more times at 22-22 and 23-23. Despite cutting it close, the Nittany Lions closed out the third set with a 25-23 win thanks to a kill from Rollins.

Parker closed out the match with 12 kills while Rollins, Pritchard, and Hord finished with seven kills apiece. Hord also ended the match with eight blocks and an impressive .538 hitting percentage.

Player Of The Match

Jonni Parker | Opposite Hitter

Senior opposite hitter Jonni Parker had yet another impressive match, which included earning her 1,000th career kill. She finished the match with a total of 12 kills and eight digs.

What’s Next?

Penn State returns to Rec Hall bright and early Saturday morning for a matchup with Oregon State at 11 a.m. The Nittany Lions will then face LSU at 8 p.m.

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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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