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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Defeats UCF In Four Sets In Second Round Of NCAA Tournament

Penn State women’s volleyball (26-7) silenced UCF (28-2) in four sets (25-18, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21) Saturday evening. Zoe Weatherington and Kashuana Williams combined for 33 kills on the night to propel the Nittany Lions to victory.

How It Happened

The first set opened with three-straight points for UCF, but Penn State head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley challenged the third point, which was called a touch on the ball by the Nittany Lions. The call was overturned and put Penn State on the board. A hitting error from the Knights tied the set at 6-6.

The Knights led 11-8 midway through the first set and a ball was called down on their side of the court. The call stood, which gave Penn State the point and the ball. UCF wasn’t bothered by the disruption and took a five-point lead over the Nittany Lions at 15-10.

Though it gained a bit of ground, UCF was able to find holes in the Penn State defense to keep a comfortable lead, prompting a timeout as the Nittany Lions trailed 19-14. A service ace from Maddy Bilinovic shook things up, but UCF took the first set 25-19.

Three Kashauna Williams kills kicked off the second set and gave the Nittany Lions a 4-2 lead. A service ace from UCF brought the Knights within one point, but Penn State increased its lead to 11-7. The Nittany Lions continued an offensive streak into UCF’s first timeout as the Knights trailed 15-8.

The Nittany Lions maintained their lead, and a slew of net violations from both teams gave away some easy points. UCF’s Kari Zumach manufactured back-to-back kills and minimized Penn State’s lead to 22-17. A classic Williams kill ultimately finished the set 25-18.

The third set began with a strong UCF offense and the Knights took a 6-4 lead. Schumacher-Cawley called the team’s first timeout of the set while the Nittany Lions trailed 9-6. A solo block from Katie Clark ended a 3-0 scoring run for the Knights and started one for Penn State, forcing a UCF timeout.

The Nittany Lions continued on a 5-0 run to nearly take the lead. UCF used a challenge card and claimed that there was a touch on the play that would’ve given Penn State the lead. A touch was detected and the point flipped to the Knights.

The teams tied at 17-17 and exchanged points until the Nittany Lions took a two-point lead to go up 24-22. A solo block from Clark closed out the third set 25-22.

UCF started out strong on offense again for set four, took an early 5-2 lead, and called for a Penn State timeout. A service error from the Knights finally ended a 7-0 scoring run and gave the Nittany Lions a chance to serve.

Penn State made up for some lost ground but continued to trail the Knights as the team just couldn’t respond defensively to UCF’s kills. A fantastic Clark kill put the Nittany Lions within one, and a hit into the net by the Knights tied the set at 17-17.

Several more kills from Clark kept Penn State in the game, and two service aces from Bilinovic gave the Nittany Lions a 22-19 lead. A service ace from freshman Gillian Grimes barely tipped over the net but gave Penn State the match win 25-21.

Player Of The Game:

Zoe Weatherington | Outside Hitter

Zoe Weatherington was a key player both offensively and defensively in Saturday night’s win. Weatherington racked up a total of 16 kills and was an important defensive presence at the net.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will face Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 next weekend. More details will be announced at the conclusion of all second-round NCAA Tournament matches.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a junior studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is a coffee addict, loves Taylor Swift, and can't wait to go to a concert again. Any questions can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter or emailed to [email protected]

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