No. 11 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Suffers Upset To Illinois

No. 11 Penn State women’s volleyball (17-5, Big Ten 6-5) suffered an upset to Illinois (10-11, Big Ten 5-6) in four sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-23, 25-23) Wednesday night.

In the second meeting between the teams this season, Penn State had a .220 hitting percentage as a team. Even with 52 kills, it wasn’t enough for the Nittany Lions to find success in Urbana-Champaign.

How It Happened

The game started with Penn State being up 2-1, but Illinois’ challenge was quickly called and won to make the score 2-2. The two teams stayed tight, but Illinois was the first to pull away with a 12-8 lead and a 5-0 scoring run.

The Fighting Illini held onto their four-point lead and carried an 18-14 lead into the later stages of the set. A number of hitting errors and a .100 hitting percentage from the Nittany Lions continued to put them into a deeper deficit at 22-17.

Penn State went on a 4-0 scoring run, but it was not enough, as it dropped the first set 25-19.

Set two started off again with a tie, this time at 3-3. Illinois started up again with a 4-0 scoring run and had its biggest lead of the game 12-6. Despite the Illinois lead, outside hitter Kashauna Williams was bringing heat from the Penn State front line.

The Nittany Lions continued to trail, and Illinois once again found set point 24-19. Penn State got one back to make it 24-20 but dropped set two on the next serve 25-20.

The third set began with a strong Penn State 3-0 lead before Illinois scored three in a row and quickly tied the set. The teams remained tied through 7-7, but the Nittany Lions finally started to pull away going up 13-9.

Penn State held a five-point lead going into a media timeout, but that was instantly chopped down to three following the short break. But, multiple kills from Penn State’s Alexa Markley kept the momentum up.

Penn State was finally able to hold onto a lead and was up 23-17 thanks to an Allie Holland kill. Illinois then called another timeout.

The Illini started a comeback run off the timeout to bring it to 24-21 before Penn State took a break of its own. The Nittany Lions then came back and finished off the set 25-23.

The final set started with a 4-1 Illinois lead. Illinois then went on a 3-0 scoring run a few points later to go up 9-5. The battle continued, but the Illini remained in control, staying up 18-15.

Penn State kept the gap close, but then dropped the final set of the game 25-23.


  • Every team has off days, but with only 10 games left in the regular season, Penn State needs to make every game count. Illinois is a tough team, but Penn State can’t continue to lose to unranked opponent when it has a tough schedule coming up.
  • A common connection this season has been a low hitting percentage and blow out losses for the Nittany Lions. Despite having more digs and almost the same amount of kills, the loss still wasn’t quite class.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will hold their “Dig Pink” match against Ohio State at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, at Rec Hall.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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