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No. 12 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Blanked By No. 2 Louisville In Straight Sets

No. 12 Penn State women’s volleyball (4-3) fell to No. 2 Louisville (7-0) 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

While both teams put up good defensive performances, Louisville pieced together its attack to find the cracks in the Nittany Lions’ defense, helping to guide the Cardinals to a win.

How It Happened

Louisville started off strong, quickly going up 7-4. The return of the Cardinals’ outside hitter Anna DeBeer following an injury in the 2022 season was clearly felt. Early on, Penn State’s Allie Holland made her blocking ability known, climbing to two blocks before the midway point of the first set.

Katie Schumacher-Cawley called the first timeout of the set following a short scoring run by Louisville that put the Cardinals ahead 13-8. A defense-heavy match on both sides of the net made it difficult for Penn State to pull ahead from behind.

Back-to-back service aces from Cara Cresse created the Cardinals’ largest lead of the set at 20-13 and forced the Nittany Lions’ second timeout. Penn State forced four set points until finally Louisville closed the book on set one 25-17.

Penn State went toe-to-toe with Louisville to open the second set before the Cardinals exploded offensively to go on a 5-0 scoring run and cause the set’s first timeout. Louisville used its first challenge for a touch on the ball by Taylor Trammell. Referees ruled that it was inconclusive, allowing the point to remain with the Nittany Lions.

Penn State continued to struggle offensively and trailed by four points at 15-11. Louisville continued to find the corner of the Nittany Lions’ side of the court, placing kill after kill. Hitting errors continued to tally against the Cardinals, nearly allowing Jess Mruzik and Trammell’s offense to close the gap.

Louisville’s head coach, Dani Busboom Kelly, used a second challenge against a ball ruled out of bounds. The call was overturned, changing what would have been a two-point gap back to a four-point gap for the Nittany Lions to overcome.

Coming out of a second timeout called by Schumacher-Cawley, the Nittany Lions went on a 3-0 scoring run. Louisville used yet another challenge regarding a touch by Holland and, after a relatively long deliberation, the call was overturned. The call being overturned paved the way for the Cardinals to finish out set two 25-19.

The Nittany Lions opened the third set absolutely desperate for anything to go their way. Schumacher-Cawley called an early timeout as Penn State immediately fell to 5-0. Penn State hung on, attempting to capitalize on attack errors from the Cardinals. Cresse headed back to the serving line to start a 4-0 scoring run, forcing Penn State’s second timeout at 15-6.

Louisville surged yet again and created an 11-point lead that was nearly impossible to tackle. Despite making a last-minute attempt to rack up a few points, a Cardinals kill wrapped up the set and match 25-16.

Takeaways

  • Service errors were one of the biggest contributors to the Nittany Lions’ loss Sunday afternoon. By the end of the match, Penn State tallied eight service errors, which were free points for Louisville. It’s not hard to imagine these sets being much closer without the influx of service errors.
  • It goes without saying that it was an incredibly rough day offensively for Penn State. However, the defense stood up well, racking up 30 digs and eight blocks. With conference play coming up quickly, though, this team can’t rely on defense alone.

What’s Next?

The blue and white will return to Happy Valley to compete against UMBC in the Penn State Classic at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 15, at Rec Hall. For those who can’t make it to Rec Hall, the match will be streamed on BTN+.

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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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