By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State kept its undefeated record intact, putting together a dominant effort in the return to Rec Hall for the Nittany Lions.
The win marks the eighth consecutive victory for the No. 2 Nittany Lions, as they convincingly put away the Bulldogs in the first of a three-match tournament.
"I thought it was a good opening match for us," Penn State head coach Russ Rose said. "All of their players have really high volleyball IQs, and they're accustomed to playing with good players because most of them played with the top club teams in California."
The home crowd played a huge part in the victory for the Nittany Lions, as more than 3,500 fans showed up to support the Blue and White. After seven straight matches on the road, Penn State was finally able to feed off the home crowd.
"To have the energy from the band and the crowd makes a big difference in how the kids feel about their efforts," Rose said.
Sophomore libero Kendall White led the Nittany Lions from the service line, posting a career-high four aces. Penn State had seven on the night, while surrendering none to the Bulldogs.
White's success is only part of the story as the 6-2 offense has been an adjustment the Nittany Lions are settling into. However, one week from the start of conference play, the Nittany Lions are finally starting to find their consistency across the board.
"Kendall had her career high and passed well," Rose said. "It's a position that we have a challenge with and we have a couple kids that are dinged up, but you have to play with who's ready to play and I thought the kids played hard"
Rose also reflected on the senior leadership stepping up when the team needed them most, even though the outcome of the match was never significantly in doubt.
"(Senior hitter Haleigh Washington) played really well, blocked well and hit well," Rose said.
For Washington, the team consistency is growing stronger with positive chemistry.
good being out on the floor with everybody," Washington said. "It's great
because I've gone through this program with all of them. "We have more of a
vibe and we connect well on this court now so it's awesome. It's great having
my last home opener here at Penn State and the energy in the gym and the
coaches. Regardless of who's on the other side, Rec Hall just doesn't change
and that's awesome to be a part of."