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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Working Through Adversity In Search Of First Ranked Win

After losses to No. 3 Florida, No. 10 Georgia Tech, and No. 2 Louisville, No. 13 Penn State women’s volleyball started its season with a 4-3 record.

The Nittany Lions dropped their first two matches of the season to Florida and Georgia Tech, marking their worst start to a season since 1973. Regardless, head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley and her team bounced back with three wins at home followed by a win against Temple before suffering another loss against No. 2 Louisville.

During the offseason, Schumacher-Cawley hit the transfer portal hard, picking up Big Ten Player of the Year Jess Mruzik and Big Ten Setter of the Year Mac Podraza. Despite the roster additions, the team isn’t flowing the way Schumacher-Cawley intended.

These inconsistencies are caused by out-of-system balls and an inability to work through scrappy points during the match, leading to a number of close sets, many of which end in the opposition’s favor.

While AVCA Player of the Week Mruzik leads the team with 96 kills, she is the only six-rotation offensive player, aside from Podraza, making fresh arms crucial for the Nittany Lions.

Senior Camryn Hannah has stepped into a massive role on the court, with 38 kills in just seven sets played. Zoe Weatherington has also proved to be dominant for the Nittany Lions when she reaches the front row, recording 43 kills thus far.

In the coming weeks, fresh arms will come in handy as the Nittany Lions begin Big Ten play against tough opponents like No. 9 Minnesota, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 1 Wisconsin, and No. 19 Ohio State.

Against Temple, the team demonstrated when it gets hot, it could be deadly. Penn State hit for a .314 hitting percentage as a team, with Weatherington registering a .500 hitting percentage on her own. The team even held the Owls to just nine points during the opening set of the match.

Against Louisville, the team posted a .055 hitting percentage with just 27 kills, resulting in a devastating loss after the massive win against Temple.

So far, the energy hasn’t been in Penn State’s favor. However, the Nittany Lions still have the firepower to turn tough games into wins and continue to charge toward its eighth National Championship.

The Nittany Lions will attempt to bounce back against UMBC in the Penn State Classic at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 15, in Rec Hall. The match will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a junior 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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