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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Falls Out Of NCAA Tournament With 3-1 Loss To Pitt

Penn State women’s volleyball (21-11, 13-7 Big Ten) fell to Pitt (28-3, 15-3 ACC) in four sets (22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 23-25) on Saturday evening during the second round of the NCAA tournament. This is the first time since 2002 that the Nittany Lions did not qualify for the NCAA’s regionals.

Pitt outside hitter Kayla Lund dominated the match with 21 kills and 10 digs to carry the Panthers to a 3-1 victory over Penn State.

How It Happened

Both Penn State and Pitt had strong hitting performances in the first set, leading to a back-and-forth battle throughout the majority of the first set. Neither team held more than a two-point lead until the Panthers took a 20-16 lead over the Nittany Lions on a 3-0 scoring run.

Penn State tied the set again at 21-21, going on a 4-0 scoring run thanks to kills from Kaitlyn Hord and Erika Pritchard. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent Pitt from earning a 25-22 first-set win.

The Panthers took a 6-3 lead early in the second set. But, the Nittany Lions went on a 3-0 scoring run to tie the set at 10-10 before kills from Hord and Jonni Parker gave them a 13-11 lead.

Hord and Parker continued to dominate at the net, boosting Penn State’s lead to 20-17. Pitt gained some momentum to tie the second set at 22-22, but this time, the Nittany Lions were able to fend off the Panthers on a block and ace from Parker. Penn State won the second set 25-23.

Following back-to-back kills from Kayla Lund, Pitt held an 8-5 lead early in the third set. The Nittany Lions found enough momentum to go on a 4-0 scoring run on kills from Pritchard and freshman outside hitter Anjelina Starck to put the match at 16-12.

After holding an 18-15 lead, the Nittany Lions’ impressive offense dropped off to allow Pitt to close its deficit. The Panthers tied the set again at 22-22 on a massive kill from Pitt’s Chinaza Ndee before going on a 4-0 scoring run to take the lead at 24-22. Ultimately, Ndee closed out the match to give the Panthers a 25-22 win over the Nittany Lions

The fourth set of the match consisted of multiple errors for both Penn State and Pitt. Back-to-back solo blocks from former Nittany Lion middle blocker Serena Gray gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead to start the fourth set. But, a kill from senior outside hitter Adanna Rollins put the Nittany Lions on a 5-0 scoring run to take an 11-7 lead.

Parker and Rollins teamed up at the net to give Penn State an 18-14 lead. Following a series of kills from the Panthers, Pitt tied the fourth set at 21-21. Despite keeping it close, the Nittany Lions fell to the Panthers 25-23, ironically, on a block from Gray.

Parker finished the match with 12 kills and five blocks, while Pritchard finished with 11 kills and a .474 hitting percentage. Senior setter Gabby Blossom totaled 38 assists on the night.

Player Of The Match

Kayla Lund | Outside Hitter

Pitt outside hitter Kayla Lund finished the match with 21 kills, 10 digs, four blocks, and a .474 hitting percentage to carry the Panthers to a 3-1 victory.

What’s Next?

Penn State’s season is over. As always, thanks for following along with us this year. We’ll see you at Rec Hall in August for another season of Nittany Lions volleyball.

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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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