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No. 14 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Conquers James Madison In Four Sets

No. 14 Penn State women’s volleyball (3-2) wrapped up the Penn State Invitational Sunday afternoon with a win against James Madison (4-1) in four sets. The Nittany Lions won all three of their games at the invitational this weekend.

The Nittany Lions nearly made a comeback despite a rough start to the second set. Sunday afternoon’s match was highlighted by Jess Mruzik’s whopping 26 kills.

How It Happened

Penn State and James Madison traded points to kick off set one. Back-to-back kills from the Dukes’ Mitte Veldman put them up by two, 5-3. The Dukes extended their lead to 11-7, but the Nittany Lions nearly battled back. Double kills from Zoe Weatherington put Penn State back within one, 14-13.

A service ace by Gillian Grimes finally tied the score at 16 points apiece. Allie Holland put down two kills to give the Nittany Lions their first lead of the set 18-16. An extended four-point lead forced a Dukes timeout as Penn State inched closer to 25 points. Three attack errors from James Madison put set point right into the Nittany Lions’ hands, and a kill by Taylor Trammell sealed the deal as the Nittany Lions took the first set 25-18.

The Dukes came out fighting with an early 4-1 lead in set two. Though Weatherington snapped a James Madison scoring run, Penn State still got off to a rough 10-4 start, causing coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley to call her first timeout of the afternoon.

The Dukes were consistently good at placing kills just out of reach, allowing them to climb the scoreboard. There were a full 10 points between James Madison and Penn State as the score sat at 17-7.

The Nittany Lions finally exploded to go on a 5-0 scoring run, supported by four consecutive kills from Mruzik. The streak was briefly broken due to a timeout by the Dukes and a following kill. Penn State wasted absolutely no time taking back control of the set, tying the game at 19 points and forcing James Madison’s second timeout. The Dukes had just enough momentum coming out of the timeout to wrap up set two 25-20.

Set three opened up 3-0 in Penn State’s favor. A net violation on James Madison helped the Nittany Lions to maintain a small advantage, but a block from the Dukes tied the score at 10 all. Down three following a kill by Weatherington, James Madison took a brief timeout with the score at 15-12.

The timeout did absolutely nothing to phase the Nittany Lions, as they came out of it and went on a 4-1 scoring run, only increasing their lead. Allie Holland highlighted the end of the match as she racked up three kills and a block assist. Two Mruzik kills ended the set with a score of 25-16.

Penn State was hungry to finish the match, beginning the fourth set 7-1 and forcing an early Dukes timeout. Hannah came up with a big kill to keep a six-point lead, 12-6. James Madison challenged a play, claiming that the Nittany Lions had a touch on the ball. The call was overturned, leaving the score at 14-8.

Just two plays later, the Dukes challenged another touch. This time, the play stood, leaving the point with Penn State. Mruzik and Weatherington continued pushing Penn State toward the finish line, 19-12.

Grimes made an incredible save from the back of the court, sending the ball over the net and back into play. Referees declared that the ball was outside of the antenna, giving the point to James Madison despite a challenge from Schumacher-Cawley.

The failed challenge did little to deter the Nittany Lions. Penn State wrapped up the fourth set and the match with a 25-16 win following an attack error from the Dukes.


  • Sunday’s volleyball was a little bit messy on both sides of the net, particularly in the second set. James Madison was particularly good at finding Penn State’s unprotected spots on the court, leaving the Nittany Lions scrambling. Even though it wasn’t the cleanest volleyball Schumacher-Cawley’s team has played, the Nittany Lions were still able to work as a team to achieve a win.
  • It was another successful day for Penn State’s transfers. Mruzik finished the afternoon with 26 kills, a service ace, and a .339 hitting percentage. Setter Mac Podraza tallied three blocks and 39 assists, while Hannah racked up three kills. It seems that Penn State’s work in the transfer portal during the offseason has really paid off.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will head back out on the road next weekend to face off against Temple at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 8, in Philadelphia.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a senior studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is 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 or emailed to [email protected]

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