No. 16 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Downed 3-2 By No. 19 Purdue
No. 16 Penn State women’s volleyball (15-8, 9-5 Big Ten) was knocked off by No. 19 Purdue (14-8, 10-5 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon in West Lafayette.
The Boilermakers snatched the first two sets convincingly, but the Nittany Lions fought back to win the next two. However, Penn State dropped the fifth set, falling short of the reverse sweep. With the loss, the Nittany Lions fell to fourth in the Big Ten standings.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions started off the day on a sloppy note, with poor setting and a couple attack errors, falling down 0-3 to the Boilermakers in the first set. Penn State finally got on the board due to a Purdue attack error, bringing the score to 1-3. Jess Mruzik landed her first kill of the day to cut the Purdue lead down to 1.
The Nittany Lions’ defense began to swarm the net, recording three blocks during their 4-1 lead that tied the setup at 7-7. Mac Podraza gave a great set to Mruzik who plastered a kill from the middle row to bring the score to 10-11. Purdue responded with a 4-1 run that forced a Penn State timeout after a Mruzik attack error pushed the Purdue lead to 15-12. Out of the Penn State timeout, Mruzik was blocked at the net to extend the four-point deficit.
With the score sitting at 15-18, Allie Holland committed a deep service error and then Purdue’s Lourdes Myers landed a kill to prompt another Penn State timeout. Penn State’s sluggish start continued as their deficit to the Boilermaker grew during a 6-1 Purdue run that extender their 24-16 lead.
A Boilermaker service error gave the Nittany Lions another chance during set point, but the very next play Chloe Chicoine landed a kill to give the first set to Purdue, 25-17.
Penn State took the first point of set number two as well as their first lead of the match, off of back-to-back Zoe Weatherington kills. Purdue responded with a 6-0 run that included a service ace, putting them back on top 8-3. An Alexa Markley attack error sent the Nittany Lions to the drawing board, burning their first timeout early on in the second set.
Purdue kept its foot on the gas after the Penn State timeout, landing a kill, but Mruzik responded with one of her own to cut the Purdue lead down to 9-4. After treading water for a few points, Penn State needed a rally to cut down the Boilermaker lead. The Nittany Lions strung together two consecutive points from a Purdue attack error and a Weatherington kill, but that was countered by a 5-2 Purdue run to bring the score to 20-12.
After being the first team to 20, the Boilermakers had no intentions of slowing down, recording back-to-back kills and a block on top of that, pushing their lead to 23-12. The Nittany Lions showed some fight towards the end of the set, going on a 3-0 run but a Camryn Hannah attack error ended any hopes of a comeback for Penn State, who now trailed 2-0 in the set count after dropping the second set 25-15.
A Mruzik kill drew first blood for the Nittany Lions, giving them a 1-0 lead to start the third set. A service ace from Mruzik and two consecutive thunderous kills from Hannah put Penn State up 6-4. Hannah began to catch fire, landing her third kill of the set to put the Nittany Lions up 7-5, but Purdue’s theme of resilience proved true once again as they responded with a 3-0 run to take an 8-7 lead.
Former Boilermaker Taylor Tremmel gave her former team a hard rejection at the net which sparked a 4-0 run for the Nittany Lions that included a service ace from Podraza. The run continued with a Mruzik kill that pushed the lead to 13-10, forcing a Purdue timeout. The Penn State lead was cut down to one point as the Boilermakers won two consecutive points out of their timeouts. A Mruzik ace and kill pushed the score to 15-12 in favor of Penn State. Purdue clapped back with a 4-0 run, giving them a 16-15 lead.
A Weatherington kill gave the Nittany Lions the lead again at 18-17. Holland provided Penn State with some firepower off the bench, recording a kill and a block that put Penn State up 20-18. A huge swing from Mruzik sent the ball flying off of a Purdue defender into the crowd, extending the 21-18 Nittany Lion lead.
A Penn State service error ended its own 3-0 run. With an apparent sense of urgency, Mruzik landed her ninth kill of the game to push the score to 23-21 where Weatherington then landed a kill to bring the Nittany Lions to set point. Originally, the officials ruled that the final point of the set was out of bounds off of Mruzik, but coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley gladly challenged the call. The call was reversed and the Nittany Lions took their first set of the day 25-21.
The fourth set began with a rejection from Weatherington and Trammell at the net and then a Mruzik kill to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead. Mruzik began to heat up, landing another kill which was then supplemented by a cheeky roll shot from Weatherington that found a crease in the Purdue defense to extend the 4-1 lead for Penn State. Yet another Mruzik kill pushed the score to 6-1 and forced a Purdue timeout.
The Boilermakers came out of their timeout with urgency, landing back-to-back points, but the red-hot Mruzik ended that run with consecutive kills to push the score to 8-3. A brilliant Gillian Grimes dig kept the point alive for Penn State, where Podraza then set up Mruzik for a kill to put the Nittany Lions up 10-5. Weatherington and Trammell continued to be tenacious at the net, blocking an attempted Boilermaker hit.
An ace from Hannah and a kill from Weatherington continued Penn State’s 6-2 run and extended their 17-10 lead. A quick set from Podraza set up Holland with a kill but that was answered by a 3-0 Purdue run to bring the score to 19-15, as well as forcing a Penn State timeout.
The run now sat at 5-0 for Purdue as they forced a Nittany Lion attack error and landed a kill to put the score at 19-17. Podraza ended the 5-0 Purdue run with a ferocious block at the net, which was then followed by a Hannah kill to put the Nittany Lions up 21-18. Consecutive kills from the now white-hot Mruzik pushed the Nittany Lions to a 23-19 lead, forcing a Purdue timeout in the process.
A Boilermaker service error put the Nittany Lions at set point where Mruzik ended it at 25-20 with her 23rd kill of the day.
The fifth set began with a great rally, but the Boilermakers ultimately struck first. Penn State immediately tied it up at 1-1 from a Purdue service error. The Boilermakers’ defense tightened up, forcing a string of attack errors from Penn State, allowing Purdue to climb out to a 6-3 lead, prompting a Schumacher-Cawley timeout.
The Nittany Lions came roaring out of their timeout, going on a 4-0 run thanks to a Weatherington kill, back-to-back service aces from Grimes, and a Purdue attack error. The run forced a Purdue timeout at 7-6. The Boilermakers grabbed a point from a Chicoine fresh out of their timeout, but the Weatherington answered with a kill of her own putting us at 8-8. The relentless Boilermakers went on a 3-0 run to take a 10-8 lead.
Penn State responded with kills from Mruzik and Hannah to bring the score to 10-11. A back-breaking service error from the Nittany Lions pushed the Boilermakers lead to 12-10. Mruzik landed another kill to 11-12, but Purdue fought back with a kill from Eva Hudson and a rejection at the net by Raven Colvin. Chicoine landed her 27th kill of the game to put the dagger through Penn State, ending the set 15-12 and taking the match 3-2.
- Penn State hit a measly .029 in the first set and only landed 9 kills. It was a brutal start that cost the Nittany Lions as they were forced to attempt a comeback.
- After a slow start, Mruzik caught fire starting in set three. She ended the game with 27 kills on a .278 hitting percentage.
- The emotional and physical toll of Friday’s five-set brawl with No. 1 Nebraska was evident as the Nittany Lions looked asleep at the wheel throughout the first two sets.
- Weatherington built off her strong performance against Nebraska on Friday, finishing with 11 kills and four blocks against Purdue.
The Nittany Lions will come back to Happy Valley to face the Michigan Wolverines in Rec Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 10.
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Kotelnicki’s hiring was first reported Thursday afternoon.
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