No. 13 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Iowa In Dominant Performance
No. 13 Penn State women’s volleyball (13-3, 7-0 Big Ten) conquered the Iowa Hawkeyes (8-11, 0-7 Big Ten) in straight sets on Friday night.
Sophomore Alexa Markley led the team to the sweep with a career-high 17 kills. The win provided the Nittany Lions with a huge burst of momentum less than 24 hours before they head to Lincoln to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
How It Happened
Though the Hawkeyes took the first few points, Penn State had no trouble exploding for a 6-0 run early in the game to give an early 7-3 lead. Two back-to-back service aces from Jess Mruzik cushioned the lead further.
Alexa Markley and Camryn Hannah led the way to a quick victory despite defensive efforts from Iowa. As Penn State approached set point 21-13, the Hawkeyes burned their first timeout. Iowa tried to catch up, but the Nittany Lions ultimately closed out set one 25-14.
The second set opened similarly, utterly dominated by Penn State. Iowa elected for an earlier timeout in this set while the Nittany Lions led 9-3. Looking to slow Markley down, the Hawkeyes doubled down on defense to go on a 4-0 scoring run.
Head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley began to look nervous as Iowa came within three points, but it didn’t last for too long. Though the team was strong on offense in the first set, impressive blocks helped the Nittany Lions stay in a comfortable 18-12 lead.
Following a long rally, Iowa challenged a call that the ball was in bounds. The point remained with Penn State, leaving the Hawkeyes with no challenges. Following a 4-0 run by Iowa, Schumacher-Cawley called her first timeout of the game.
Iowa crept up on the Nittany Lions, coming within just two points thanks to a few service aces. Penn State refused to let the Hawkeyes take the lead and promptly went on a 5-0 run to wrap up set two 25-18.
Hannah opened up the scoring in set three with a kill. A fast 7-1 run for the Nittany Lions forced a Hawkeyes timeout while Penn State climbed the scoreboard 12-4. Another set of two service aces from Allie Holland put Penn State up by 10 at 14-4.
Despite a small push by the Hawkeyes, Zoe Weatherington entered the match and quickly racked up three kills to extend the lead yet again. A slew of perfectly placed kills closed set three 25-14 and secured the sweep for the Nittany Lions.
Player of the Game
Alexa Markley | Outside Hitter
Though relatively quiet through the first few matches of the season, Markley has been slowly building through the beginning of Big Ten play. It was only a matter of time before the sophomore outside hitter had an explosive game.
Markley reached a career-high 15 kills in last weekend’s five-set match against Ohio State. In the game against Iowa, it took only three sets to hit a new career high of 17 kills. Markley hit .469 and had only two errors. Her presence on the court will be massive in upcoming matches against Nebraska and Wisconsin.
The Nittany Lions will stay on the road in the Midwest as they face No. 2 Nebraska at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 14. The match will air on the Big Ten Network.
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About the Author
When paired with the Thespian Society by Penn State THON, the world changed for Theresa Illicete.
Down by 18 at one point, the Nittany Lions put together a massive comeback.
Thompson was granted two extra years of eligibility by the NCAA.