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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Falls To No. 10 Minnesota 3-1

No. 15 Penn State women’s volleyball (19-10, 12-7 Big Ten) kicked off its final regular-season homestand with a loss to No. 10 Minnesota (19-8, 14-5 Big Ten) Friday night at Rec Hall.

Kaitlyn Hord’s team-leading 12 kills and 11 blocks ultimately weren’t enough to carry Penn State in the 3-1 (25-27, 21-25, 25-23, 18-25) loss to the Golden Gophers.

How It Happened

Friday night’s match began as a back-and-forth battle between both sides until Minnesota broke away with a 4-0 scoring run and took a convincing 13-9 lead. The Golden Gophers maintained that advantage and even expanded it with an ace to go up 19-12. However, Penn State ripped off seven straight points — including two Minnesota hitting errors and four straight Nittany Lions blocks — to tie the set 19-19. Although Penn State summoned set point twice, two straight kills gave Minnesota a 27-25 set one win.

Penn State’s habit for blowing leads trickled into set two, too. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 6-1 lead but quickly gave up four straight points to shrink that advantage. Penn State kept things close, though, and led 18-14 midway through the frame before letting Minnesota tie the frame 18-18. The Nittany Lions eked out a 21-19 lead, but a 6-0 Golden Gopher run — started by three straight kills — gave Minnesota a 25-19 win in set two.

The Nittany Lions’ luck turned when Penn State claimed a close 25-23 win in set three. Although the team collectively hit just .068 in the frame, the Nittany Lions greatly benefited from 12 Minnesota hitting errors, plus two service errors.

Ultimately, though, the Golden Gophers ended Penn State’s hopes of an upset by dominating set four en route to a 25-18 win. Minnesota hit a match-best .346 in the final frame to put the game away. Although Penn State lept to a 3-1 lead, the Golden Gophers’ hitters carried their team to a solid 3-1 victory at Rec Hall.

Despite the tough loss, some of Penn State’s biggest stars passed some career milestones against Minnesota. Libero Jenna Hampton topped 1,000 career digs, while middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord surpassed 500 career blocks.

Hord led the Nittany Lions with 12 kills on a .393 hitting clip. Erika Pritchard and Jonni Parker each reached double-digits with 10 apiece, too.

Friday night’s game was a block party all around for the Nittany Lions. Hord paced the team with a whopping 11 total blocks, while Parker, Adanna Rollins, and Allie Holland each added six apiece.

Player Of The Match

Kaitlyn Hord | Middle Blocker

Once again, Hord put her team on her back Friday night. The senior middle blocker showed out to the tune of 12 kills and 11 blocks to lead Penn State’s ultimately-short comeback effort.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will close out their regular-season slate with a matchup against Iowa on Saturday, November 27. First serve from Rec Hall is set for 7 p.m.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

By day, Matt is a senior majoring in journalism. By night, he's Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football lover, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza and "Arrested Development" quotes. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ if you hate yourself or email Matt at [email protected] if you hate him.

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