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No. 14 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Defeats No. 24 Ohio State In Five-Set Thriller

No. 14 Penn State women’s volleyball (12-3, 6-0 Big Ten) defeated No. 24 Ohio State (6-9, 3-3 Big Ten) in five sets in front of a crowd of over 4,000 at Rec Hall on Saturday night. 

The Nittany Lions used a season-high 65 kills to take down their Big Ten rival 3-2 in an intense five-set match. 

How It Happened 

After Ohio State jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead to begin the first set, the Nittany Lions quickly gained their stride and decreased the Buckeyes’ lead. That close gap held up for the rest of the set, including 14 ties. 

The two teams went back and forth until Penn State won three consecutive points to go ahead 18-15 and forced an Ohio State timeout. The Buckeyes tied it at 18, but just a few points later, Mac Podraza made a kick save that turned into a Jess Mruzik kill to electrify the Rec Hall crowd and give Penn State a 21-19 lead. 

The Nittany Lions didn’t look back from there and won the opening set 25-23.

The beginning of the second set followed the same trend, with several early lead changes. However, the Buckeyes owned the lead for the majority of the set, getting it up to 23-18. Head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley called a timeout for Penn State and four straight points made it 23-22 to give the Nittany Lions all the momentum. 

Despite the late push, Ohio State used its 21 digs and 15 kills to hold on and take the second set 25-23. 

Between sets two and three, the 2008 national championship-winning Penn State women’s volleyball team, which featured current Ohio State assistant coach Nicole Fawcett, was honored.

Another tight set came in the third when there were 10 ties and four lead changes. Mruzik and Allie Holland led a surge to bring the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 lead, but that lead was given up moments later. Ohio State went up 16-15 and didn’t give up that lead again on its way to a 25-20 set three win. 

Rec Hall was jumping with energy after the Nittany Lions went down 2-1. Penn State used the crowd noise early in the fourth set to take a 3-0 lead before extending it to 7-2 and forcing Ohio State head coach Jen Flynn Oldenburg to call a timeout. 

It was all blue and white from that point on, and another Ohio State timeout was called after numerous aggressive spikes put Penn State up 22-14. The Nittany Lions avoided a comeback scare and won it 25-21 to push the match to a fifth frame. 

Every point seemed like match point in the final set. The Buckeyes used two timeouts in the early going, but it simply didn’t stop Penn State. The Nittany Lions dominated the last set, winning it 15-7.

Takeaways

  • Quick spikes off low sets were nearly unstoppable. When sets weren’t floating high in the air, the Buckeyes’ front line had no time to adjust, and it was kill after kill for Penn State.
  • Jess Mruzik was a force in front of the net. She had eight kills in the first set alone and finished the game with 21. 
  • The rowdy fans proved to be a factor in this game. When the crowd was rocking, so was the team. Props to you, Rec Hall.

What’s Next?

Penn State has a big weekend with two away games coming up. On Friday, October 13, the Nittany Lions will face Iowa before traveling to No. 2 Nebraska on Saturday, October 14. Both games are set for 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Michael Siroty

Michael Siroty is a rising sophomore from Westfield, New Jersey, majoring in broadcast journalism. When he isn't writing articles or making TikToks for Onward State, Siroty is either taking a peaceful walk around Beaver Stadium or at his summer day camp job. You can contact him to discuss your sushi order or music taste on Instagram and Twitter @msiroty or by email at [email protected].

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