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No. 12 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Loses To No. 8 Wisconsin In Straight Sets

No. 12 Penn State women’s volleyball (12-2, 1-2 Big Ten) dropped its match to No. 8 Wisconsin (8-3, 2-1 Big Ten) on Friday night, taking its second loss of the season.

The Nittany Lions looked quite sluggish for the first time this season, as the team lost in straight sets.

How It Happened

The first set started off pretty mellow, with the Nittany Lions trailing the Badgers for several points. A block followed by a kill from Keshauna Williams gave Penn State its first lead of the set 7-6.

A series of aces from Wisconsin took a notable lead of 13-9, and the Badgers continued to take their largest lead of the set so far. A kill from Allie Holland helped the Nittany Lions to gain some steam, going on a 3-0 scoring run. The gap began to close, and at 18-15, Wisconsin took a time-out.

Following the time-out, an attack error gave Wisconsin control of the ball. The Badgers widened the lead once again to 21-16. Kills by Zoe Weatherington keep the Nittany Lions in close range of the Badgers, but Wisconsin took the set 25-20.

The Nittany Lions started the second set with a lot of momentum, quickly getting ahead 5-3. A combination of errors from Penn State and kills from Wisconsin allowed Wisconsin to take the lead back 9-6.

Nittany Lions head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley challenged a touch point, but the call was confirmed, allowing Wisconsin to extend its lead to 15-7 and forcing a Penn State time out. Continued attack errors from the Nittany Lions left Penn State trailing 11-21. A few more Wisconsin points wrapped things up 25-16.

The third set was do-or-die for the Nittany Lions. Wisconsin came out strong once again, quickly jumping into a 5-2 lead. Several kills from Penn State almost closed the gap, but a service error allowed Wisconsin to go on a 3-0 scoring streak. With yet another kill, the Badgers extended their lead to 15-11.

A Nittany Lions kill and a service ace made the score 18-17 and forced Wisconsin to take its first time out of the set. A rare error of players out of rotation gave Penn State the point it need to tie things up, and the momentum to get into the lead. With the Nittany Lions up 20-18, the Badgers burned their second time-out.

Wisconsin answered with three straight points, and Penn State used its first time out. The Nittany Lions rallied to tie the set at 24-24, and after a Wisconsin kill, they used their second time out. The Badgers and Nittany Lions exchanged points, giving the Nittany Lions set point three different times, but they weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunity. A final kill by Wisconsin completed the third set 31-29, resulting in a Penn State loss.

Takeaways

  • The Badgers are the reigning NCAA Women’s Volleyball champions, and anyone would be nervous to play against them. However, even with a record better than Wisconsin’s and a team that has looked nothing but solid so far this year, Penn State women’s volleyball has looked better.
  • A high number of service errors and attack errors added up quickly, but the Nittany Lions battled the whole way through the game, especially against Wisconsin’s aces and kills. One loss definitely won’t set the team back far, but it might offer insight on areas to improve, including blocking and serving.

What’s Next

Penn State women’s volleyball will return to Happy Valley on Sunday, October 2 to take on Michigan State. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Rec Hall.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a 2024 graduate of Penn State with a degree in immunology and infectious disease. She relocated to Williamsport but will not be taking any questions about what’s next in her career. Haylee continues to be fueled by dangerous amounts of caffeine and dreams of smashing the patriarchy. Any questions or discussion about Taylor Swift’s best songs can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter if you must.

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