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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Tops Towson 3-1 To Open NCAA Tournament

Penn State women’s volleyball (20-10, 13-7 Big Ten) defeated Towson (26-4, 12-4 CAA) in four sets (25-11, 25-27, 25-20, 25-21) Friday evening to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Senior opposite hitter Jonni Parker had a big night to help carry the Nittany Lions to a 3-1 victory over the Tigers. She finished the match with 18 kills, 11 digs, and a .348 hitting percentage.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions started the first set of the match off hot with a 5-0 lead thanks to strong play at the net. Kills from senior opposite hitter Jonni Parker and freshman outside hitter Anjelina Starck boosted Penn State’s lead to 11-3. Towson cut its deficit to 15-10, but that was as close as the Tigers came to trying to overtake the lead.

Penn State went on a 7-0 scoring run at 22-10 before closing out the set on a 25-11 win. The Nittany Lions finished the first set with a .407 hitting percentage. Both senior outside hitter Adanna Rollins and Parker finished the set with a .500 hitting percentage while Starck held a .571 hitting percentage.

Towson stayed right with the Nittany Lions, only trailing 4-2 at the start of the second set. The Tigers held a 9-7 lead over Penn State, who trailed behind by only a few points before regaining an 18-15 lead on back-to-back kills from senior outside hitter Erika Pritchard.

The Tigers tied the set at 18-18 and 19-19 before the Nittany Lions took the lead at 21-19 on kills from Parker and Rollins. From there, Penn State and Towson tied the set five times up to 25-25 but following a long volley, the Tigers won 27-25.

Penn State found its footing again at the start of the third set with a 6-3 lead thanks to kills from senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Hord and Starck. The Nittany Lions dominated at the net to boost their lead to 14-11 on kills from sophomore middle hitter Allie Holland and Parker.

The Nittany Lions went on a 4-0 scoring run on back-to-back-to-back kills from Rollins to give them an 18-13 lead halfway through the set. The Tigers cut their deficit to trail 21-19 behind Penn State following a 3-0 scoring run. Ultimately, the Nittany Lions powered their way to close out the set with a 25-20 win on a 3-0 scoring run.

Penn State started the fourth set off hot with a 4-0 scoring run, but Towson remained closely behind the Nittany Lions. Back-to-back kills from Parker gave Penn State a 10-8 lead over the Tigers.

Despite Towson keeping it close halfway through the fourth set, the Nittany Lions capitalized on errors from the Tigers to hold a 20-17 lead. However, Penn State was able to close out the match with a 25-21 win on a kill from Rollins.

Hord finished the match with 11 kills and seven blocks while Rollins finished with 10 kills, eight digs, and four blocks. Senior setter Gabby Blossom finished the night with five kills, 47 assists, 11 digs, and a . 714 hitting percentage. Additionally, senior libero Jenna Hampton closed out the match with 27 digs.

Player Of The Match

Jonni Parker | Opposite Hitter

Senior opposite hitter Jonni Parker finished the match with 18 kills, 11 digs, and a . 348 hitting percentage to lead the Nittany Lions over Towson in four sets. To put her dominance in perspective, no other player in the match topped 11 kills.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will face the winner of the No. 3 Pitt and UMBC in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 4.

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Mackenzie is a senior majoring in English and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She is from Minersville, PA, and is always trying to explain exactly where that is. Send all compliments to [email protected] or @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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