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No. 15 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Defeats Michigan State 3-2

No. 15 Penn State women’s volleyball (17-7, 10-4 Big Ten) defeated Michigan State (10-13, 3-11 Big Ten) in five sets Saturday night at Rec Hall during the Nittany Lions’ second-ever “Silent Set.”

Senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord’s dominant performance earned her a career-high 24 kills and a Penn State 3-2 win (25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 15-13) over the Spartans.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions got off to a 5-4 start in the match. Despite a few hitting errors, senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord impressed by earning three kills within the first few points of the set. Penn State’s sloppy defense gave Michigan State the momentum it needed to take the lead at 9-7.

Despite the Spartans holding a narrow lead throughout most of the first set, the Nittany Lions found their rhythm near the end of the first set, taking the lead at 22-18 on kills from freshman outside hitter Anjelina Starck and Hord. Ultimately, Penn State closed out the first set with a 25-23 win on Starck’s third kill of the match.

Penn State put on a much more impressive start to the second match, earning a 5-2 lead over the Spartans. The Nittany Lions continued their lead to 13-10 thanks to strong hitting from Hord.

Back-to-back blocks from senior outside hitter Adanna Rollins boosted Penn State to a 19-14 lead. The Nittany Lions earned a 3-0 scoring run on kills from senior opposite hitter Jonni Parker and Rollins, extending their lead to 23-18. Hord closed out the second set with a kill to give Penn State a 25-21 second set win.

Rollins kicked off the third set with back-to-back aces to give the Nittany Lions a 4-3 start. The Spartans took a 10-8 lead about halfway through the set, but Penn State remained closely behind with kills from Parker and Starck.

The Nittany Lions’ hitting performance outweighed its less-than-stellar serving late in the third set, trailing at 22-19 on a 4-0 scoring run by Michigan State. Unfortunately, Penn State couldn’t hang on, and the Spartans earned the third set win at 25-21.

Parker and Hord’s hitting gave the Nittany Lions a 4-1 lead and 4-0 scoring run to begin the fourth set. Following an impressive volley, kills from Starck and Rollins earned Penn State a very narrow 9-8 lead over the Spartans.

After tying the first half of the fourth set seven times, Michigan State took a 16-13 over the Nittany Lions. Rollins earned her tenth kill of the night to cut Penn State’s deficit to 17-15. Hord and Parker also answered a few points later with kills to trail Michigan State 18-17.

Towards the end of the fourth set, hitting errors plagued the Nittany Lions, which ultimately led to the Spartans earning a 25-20 fourth set win.

Parker and Hord’s explosive hitting yet again brought the Nittany Lions a 4-1 lead in the fifth set. Michigan State tied the set at 7-7 before Parker responded with a massive kill — her 16th of the night.

A solo block from Rollins boosted the Nittany Lions to an 11-9 lead late in the fifth set. Despite strong hitting from the Spartans, Hord posted a huge block to put Penn State narrowly ahead at a 14-13, but it was Parker who closed out the match on her 18th kill of the night to give the Nittany Lions a 15-13 win.

Parker ended the night with 18 kills, seven digs, and three blocks. Rollins and Starck both finished the match with 12 kills apiece while senior setter Gabby Blossom finished the night with 57 assists, 13 digs, and three blocks.

Player Of The Match

Kaitlyn Hord | Middle Blocker

Hord absolutely dominated the match, earning a career-high 24 kills. She also finished the night with six blocks and a .535 hitting percentage.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan again on Friday, November 12. First serve is set for 7 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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