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No. 13 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Falls To Illinois 3-1

No. 13 Penn State women’s volleyball (15-7, 8-4 Big Ten) ended its weekend on a sour note when it fell to Illinois (16-7, 8-4 Big Ten) in a 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-27, 22-25) loss Saturday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions blew a few late-game leads to lose ground to the Illini, who never failed to capitalize on opportunities. Right-side hitter Jonni Parker’s match-leading 23 kills weren’t enough to give Penn State a win.

How It Happened

Illinois began Saturday afternoon’s match by quickly jumping out to a 5-2 lead. Led by right-side hitter Jonni Parker, Penn State stormed back to tie the Illini 6-6 and eventually retake the lead, 10-9. Although Illinois tied Penn State 17-17 later on, the Nittany Lions used a 5-0 scoring run to break away and eventually win the set 25-20. Adanna Rollins sealed the win with a huge solo block.

Although Illinois gained a few early leads, Penn State remained in control throughout the second set and cruised to a 23-21 late in the game. However, straight points for the Illini prompted a Nittany Lions timeout with a set point on the line. Out of the break, Illinois served an ace to take the 25-23 set two win.

A late collapse ultimately doomed Penn State in set three. Despite trading back-and-forth blows with the Illini, Penn State brought up set point (25-24) thanks to an Erika Pritchard kill. However, a service error followed by two Illinois kills gave the visiting team a 27-25 win in the frame, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.

The final nail in Penn State’s coffin came when Illinois won set four 25-22. The Illini hit only .233 in the frame, but nine combined hitting and service errors didn’t do the Nittany Lions any favors.

The shocking defeat is Penn State’s first of the season to an unranked opponent.

Parker led all players with 23 kills on .383 hitting Saturday afternoon. Middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord (16) and outside hitter Erika Pritchard (10) both finished in double-digits, too.

Setter Gabby Blossom led the match with 56 assists. Her 19 digs on the night just barely led libero Jenna Hampton’s 18.

Player Of The Match

Jonni Parker | Right-Side Hitter

Parker put Penn State on her back Saturday night. She led all players with 23 kills and added nine digs and a block for good measure. Her two service errors hurt, but it’s hard to ask for more from your senior captain.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will rest up and stay put before continuing their four-match homestand with a tilt against Michigan on Friday, November 5. First serve from Rec Hall is set for 7:30 p.m.

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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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