No. 13 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Defeats Seton Hall In Four Sets
No. 13 Penn State women’s volleyball (6-3) toppled Seton Hall (6-3) in four sets on Saturday afternoon. With Friday’s win against UMBC, the Nittany Lions went 2-0 in the Penn State Classic.
Despite dropping the second set, Penn State played a strong game, highlighted by multiple long rallies that showed plenty of athleticism on both sides of the net.
How It Happened
Seton Hall drew first blood, going up 4-1 early in set one. The Nittany Lions tallied several service errors early on and found it difficult to catch up to the Pirates.
Penn State was finally nipping at the heels of Seton Hall and trailed by two points. The Pirates challenged an attack error and after a lengthy review, the call was overturned, giving a four-point lead back to Seton Hall.
The call didn’t phase the Nittany Lions, though. A double block by Taylor Trammell and Mac Podraza tied the game at 15 all. The Pirates began to pull away again due to several attacking errors from Penn State.
Katie Schumacher-Cawley took her turn challenging a play, claiming there was a touch on the ball. The call was reversed, putting the teams back within one. A ball-handling error by the Pirates’ Maddie Klungel put Penn State ahead and forced Seton Hall’s first timeout of the match at 20-19.
The set slipped right through Seton Hall’s fingers as the Nittany Lions wrapped things up with a 5-0 run and a Jess Mruzik kill, ending the set 25-20.
Set two began in Seton Hall’s favor again, but Mruzik and Trammell worked to hold the Pirates to a margin of two points or less. The teams tied at 9-9 and continued to trade points until Seton Hall exploded on a 4-0 run, forcing Schumacher-Cawley to call her first timeout 15-11.
The Nittany Lions came out of the timeout fired up and fought for the lead back. Camryn Hannah led the crusade, putting up a solo block and a kill to keep Penn State in the game. The Nittany Lions got back within two to 21-19, making the Pirates nervous and forcing their first timeout of the set. Seton Hall battled until the very end, ultimately claiming the second set 25-20.
Penn State didn’t mess around at the beginning of the third set, matching every attempted Pirates kill with a dig and quickly going up 5-1. Schumacher-Cawley challenged a point for the Nittany Lions, which was overturned after a fast review by officials.
The Nittany Lions utterly dominated the first half of this set, embarking on a 9-0 scoring run. Seton Hall attempted its own scoring marathon but was halted by Mruzik and Allie Holland with their own individual kills. Mruzik gave Penn State a double-digit lead over the Pirates 20-10. A Seton Hall service error brought up set point, as Alexa Markley put down a powerful kill to wrap up set three 25-14.
The Pirates entered the fourth set with much more fire than they had in the third, but three back-to-back blocks put the Nittany Lions up 6-3. The block game was strong, with six block assists from Penn State before either team hit 15 points.
Trailing by two, Seton Hall grasped onto any chance it could get to get back ahead, challenging a ball that was called in-bounds. The call stood, leaving the Pirates with no challenges. A huge solo block followed up by a kill, both from Mruzik, put the Nittany Lions three points ahead, 17-14.
The Pirates simply weren’t ready to give up, but attack errors caught up with the team quickly. Mruzik put down a final kill right up against the net to close out the match 25-19.
- Saturday’s game displayed the cohesion and teamwork the Nittany Lions have been searching for all season. There was a massive handful of long rallies that Penn State absolutely refused to lose. Seton Hall did the same, but the Nittany Lions, specifically Cassie Kuerschen and Gillian Grime, made the digs look absolutely effortless. Kuerschen and Grimes tallied 15 and 19 digs, respectively, for a total of 34 digs between them.
- Rec Hall is officially the newest home of the Jess Mruzik show. After just four weeks of regular-season play at Penn State, Mruzik made her mark on Schumacher-Cawley’s team and helped drive them to victory. The outside hitter finished the match with 20 kills, the Nittany Lions’ only service ace of the game, and two solo blocks. Is there anything she can’t do?
The Nittany Lions will open Big Ten play against Rutgers at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20, at Rec Hall. The match will be aired on Big Ten Network.
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