Nittany Lions Look to Improve Following Iowa Win

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By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions took their second consecutive conference win as they defeated Iowa in four sets in Rec Hall on Saturday night. The win improves Penn State's overall record to 12-1 six weeks into the season.

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But head coach Russ Rose was less than impressed with the effort from his young squad, and attributed the better performance of the night to the visiting Hawkeyes.

"We were fortunate that we were at home and I would have expected us to play a little bit better and play a little bit harder but I thought that Iowa had a lot to do with that," said Rose. "I thought Iowa served really tough and they played hard."

Coming into the match at 8-5 overall, the Hawkeyes and Iowa head coach Sharon Dingman left it all on the court after each and every set. Rose said that he recognized Iowa's tough demeanor and that his team showed considerably less emotion during the match.

"The people that traditionally do some things well didn't play as well for us tonight as we would have liked," said Rose. "But it's a match that, if you're fortunate enough to win, maybe you learn a lesson and you go on from there."

And from there, the head coach said that his team needs to put a stop to the mistakes.

At times in 2012, the Lions have been plagued by attack errors and service errors. In the match against Iowa, the Nittany Lions rendered 21 hitting errors and eight service errors.

So when Rose needs his players to step up and eliminate these errors in order to win a match, he gives them a very simple command.

"Do better."

Though the phrase is a short and quick one that Rose uses over and over again inside the time constraints of a single match, his players said that the instruction is one that rings loud and clear.

Junior outside hitter Deja McClendon said that her head coach has nothing to hide when it comes to telling her and her teammates what they need to fix.

"Nothing is a secret with coach - definitely not," said McClendon. "He tells us a million times at practice so everyone knows, or should know, what they need to do. "Especially in a game, you know you feel when you're off and you feel when you mess up."

McClendon registered a match-high 18 kills and 18 digs against the Hawkeyes and provided the consistency that the Lions needed to finish off the conference win.

"We can't start off too lax," said McClendon. "I think that's our problem - and if we start out lax it doesn't ever go well for us so that's what I'm disappointed about."

But the junior said that she and the rest of her fourth-ranked Lions know that they have what it takes to compete and will continue to work on eliminating the silly mistakes and the important ones. At the end of the night, McClendon was just happy to get another win.

"No one's ever going to be perfect," said McClendon. "It's another 'W' in our column."

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