No. 8 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Drops Second Game 3-1 To No. 20 Georgia Tech
No. 8 Penn State women’s volleyball (0-2) continued its opening weekend with a 3-1 upset loss against No. 20 Georgia Tech (2-0) in the Road 2 Tampa Bay Invitational in Tampa, Florida.
Jess Mruzik led with 16 kills as the Nittany Lions produced strong blocks throughout, but it wasn’t enough to give them a win.
How It Happened
Saturday evening’s match opened with a back-and-forth exchange of points between the Nittany Lions and the Yellow Jackets. An effective block by Georgia Tech allowed its team to pull ahead 5-3.
Despite kills from Alexa Markley and Allie Holland, Georgia Tech brought the defense in full force, leaving Penn State trailing 11-9. An attack error by the Yellow Jackets’ Tamara Otene evens the score at 14-14.
Yet another iconic Markley kill and a block created the opportunity for the Nittany Lions to lead 18-16, but the score was quickly tied again. Back-to-back kills from Georgia Tech forced second-year coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley to take her first timeout of the set.
Larissa Mendes clocked her eighth kill for the Yellow Jackets to close out the first set 25-21.
Georgia Tech wasted no time snatching a large 4-0 lead in the second set. After falling behind, the Nittany Lions finally exploded, combining incredible blocks and kills from Jess Mruzik and Markley to tie the score at eight points apiece.
A joint block from Taylor Trammell and Markley pushed Penn State into the lead for the first time in the second set with a score of 11-10. A Blue and White block snapped a four-point Georgia Tech scoring streak, clearing the way for the Nittany Lions to start a scoring streak of their own (and force Georgia Tech’s first timeout).
Though a service error ended Penn State’s streak, the team maintained a small lead which was maintained by Mruzik breaking out into the court and racking up several kills. Trammell closes out the second set with a kill, 25-20.
The Nittany Lions leaped into the third set after finding their rhythm in the second and took an early 3-1 lead. It was quickly swept away as Mendes reasserted her dominance from the other side of the court and left Penn State falling behind 8-5.
Despite their best defensive efforts, the Nittany Lions fell into the trap of repeated kills from the Yellow Jackets and found themselves in a rough eight-point deficit, 19-11. A challenge on Georgia Tech finally snapped its scoring run.
Penn State wasn’t able to come back from that deficit, getting only as close as five points. Georgia Tech took the third set 25-19.
Fighting for a chance to stay in the match, the Nittany Lions opened up the fourth set going toe-to-toe with the Yellow Jackets and exchanging points. Once again, Georgia Tech pulled ahead to claim a 9-6 lead.
Though multiple Nittany Lions began to get comfortable on the court, including Mruzik, they weren’t able to do so fast enough to ward off the Yellow Jackets. Three straight kills from Bianca Bertolino brought the score to 16-9.
Immediately after taking the floor for the first time all night, Camryn Hannah clocked an ace to bring the score to 22-16. The Nittany Lions simply did not have the momentum to catch up, and Georgia Tech claimed the set (and the match), 25-16.
- Veteran Allie Holland was a key player throughout the match and was absolutely crucial to the second set win. If Holland wasn’t blocking, she was putting up kills. And if she wasn’t doing either of those, she was getting her teammates pumped up, energized, and ready to play good volleyball.
- The Nittany Lions had amazing blocks against Georgia Tech. Penn State’s blockers alone helped to keep the blue and white out of a deep deficit on multiple occasions. Across the match, the Nittany Lions clocked 17 blocks compared to Georgia Tech’s nine.
The Nittany Lions will host Western Kentucky on Friday, September 1 at Rec Hall for their first home game of 2023 as part of the Penn State Invitational. The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the match will be aired on BTN+.
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About the Author
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