Penn State Women’s Volleyball Defeats Michigan 3-1

No. 15 Penn State women’s volleyball (18-7, 11-4 Big Ten) began its weekend road trip on a good note when it defeated Michigan (14-10, 6-7 Big Ten) in Ann Arbor Friday night.

Maryland transfer Erika Pritchard led all players with 18 kills in the 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22) win. Penn State dominated from the service line and racked up eight aces against Michigan.

How It Happened

The match began with typical back-and-forth play until Penn State used five straight points to take a 10-7 lead over Michigan. The Nittany Lions quickly cruised to a 20-13 advantage until Michigan fought back and tied the match 23-23. A kill from Maryland transfer Erika Pritchard brought up set point, and a timely Wolverines attack error gave Penn State a 26-24 win in set one.

Strong play at the service line powered another strong start for Penn State in set two. Middle blocker Allie Holland posted her 23rd ace of the season before back-to-back aces from setter Gabby Blossom put the Nittany Lions up 10-5. Penn State kept cruising, but the team couldn’t wiggle out of a late collapse this time. The Nittany Lions led 21-13 late in the frame but Michigan used an 8-0 run to eventually tie things up 23-23. A service ace from the Wolverines gave Michigan a 25-23 win, tying the match 1-1.

Frequent ties and back-and-forth scoring highlighted the match’s third frame. Penn State later used a 6-0 scoring run to turn an 18-17 deficit into a 23-18 lead. A kill from Holland brought up set point before a Michigan attack error gave the Nittany Lions a 25-19 win, putting Penn State up 2-1 in the match.

The match’s fourth and final set was relatively anticlimactic. Things got exciting when a block from Holland and right-side hitter Jonni Parker brought up match point. However, Penn State won the match on a challenge that resulted in a Michigan attack error. The Nittany Lions claimed set four 25-22 to complete a 3-1 win.

Pritchard (18), Adanna Rollins (14), and Kaitlyn Hord (12) posted double-digit kills in the match. Four Nittany Lions — Pritchard, Parker, Holland, and setter Gabby Blossom — racked up two aces apiece in the win.

Libero Jenna Hampton tied her career-high of 27 digs against the Wolverines. Blossom, meanwhile, dished out 55 assists to keep Penn State’s offense rolling.

Penn State’s senior class is now 5-0 against Michigan. The Nittany Lions lead the two teams’ all-time series 54-5 dating back to 1981.

Player Of The Match

Erika Pritchard | Outside Hitter

Against Michigan, Pritchard posted arguably her best game since becoming a Nittany Lion this summer. She led all players with 17 kills on .342 hitting and tacked on seven digs, a block, and two aces to stuff the stat sheet.

What’s Next?

Penn State will stick around the Great Lakes State to match up against Michigan State on Saturday, November 13. First serve in East Lansing is set for 8 p.m. on BTN+.

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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 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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