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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Iowa To End Regular Season

No. 15 Penn State women’s volleyball (20-10, 13-7 Big Ten) ended its regular season with a strong win over Iowa (6-24, 4-16 Big Ten) Saturday night at Rec Hall.

The Nittany Lions celebrated Senior Day in style by sweeping Iowa (25-22, 28-26, 25-19) to reach 20 wins on the season.

How It Happened

Four straight points from the Hawkeyes, including back-to-back blocks, put Iowa up 4-0 to begin Saturday’s match. Although Penn State kept things close, it didn’t tie the set until a kill from middle blocker Anjelina Starck completed a 3-0 run and locked things up 13-13. From there, senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord took over the game and willed Penn State to a 25-22 set one win. Hord wound up recording seven kills on .700 hitting, plus two blocks, in the first frame.

Penn State nearly blew a massive lead in set two. Although the Nittany Lions found themselves up 18-12 midway through the frame, sloppy play — marked by attack errors, errant serves, and even a bad set — let Iowa tie things up 22-22. The two teams tied once again at 23, 24, 25, and 26 points apiece before back-to-back kills from Hord and Adanna Rollins gave the Nittany Lions a close 28-26 win.

Penn State took control in set three and really never took its foot off the gas. Although Iowa chipped in some points here and there, strong production from the Nittany Lions’ middle blockers — including six blocks at the net — set the team up for success. Ultimately, an emphatic kill from senior outside hitter Erika Pritchard gave Penn State a 25-18 win to complete the sweep over the Hawkeyes.

The Nittany Lions’ seniors showed out on Senior Day. Hord paced the team with 16 kills on .484 hitting, while right-side hitter Jonni Parker followed suit with 12 of her own. Rollins, who transferred from Minnesota over the summer, added six kills.

Senior setter Gabby Blossom dished out 46 assists in the win, while senior libero Jenna Hampton paved the way with 18 digs. Blossom, who’s always one to flash her defensive prowess, completed a double-double by adding 10 digs herself.

Following the win, Penn State has maintained its dominance over Iowa. Since the two teams’ series began in 1991, the Nittany Lions are a perfect 56-0 against the Hawkeyes. Penn State has now won 15 straight sets over Iowa dating back to 2017.

Speaking of history, head coach Russ Rose has now led Penn State to at least 20 wins in every season of his career, minus last spring’s campaign, which included only 16 games.

Player Of The Match

Kaitlyn Hord | Middle Blocker

Hord probably needs to see a chiropractor after putting Penn State on her back so regularly this year. Tonight, Hord led all players with 16 kills on .484 hitting while contributing six total blocks, including three solo stuffs.

What’s Next?

That’s a wrap on Penn State’s regular season. Sunday night, the Nittany Lions will find out if they’ve qualified for this year’s NCAA Tournament. Tune in to ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. to see if Russ Rose can keep the streak alive after leading his program to an appearance in every NCAA Tournament since its inception in 1981.

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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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