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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team (2-0) swept past Iona (0-2) in three sets (25-13, 25-14, 25-11) Saturday morning in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions return to action this evening, wrapping up the Penn State Classic with a 7 p.m. matchup against William & Mary.
Freshman Ali Frantti led the offense with her second consecutive double-digit kill performance, posting a team-high 11 kills, as well as two aces, two digs and two blocks.
Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney and junior Megan Courtney followed close behind with eight kills each. Courtney also contributed five digs and two blocks. Making her collegiate debut, freshman Heidi Thelen recorded eight kills, while also tallying a team-high three blocks.
Sophomore Kelly Robertson matched a career high mark with two blocks, adding one kill.
Senior Dominique Gonzalez anchored the defense with a team-high 11 digs. Senior Micha Hancock paced the team to a .329 hitting clip, dishing out 30 assists, while also ranking second on the team with eight digs.
Penn State shot out to a 7-2 advantage early in the match, helped out by a 7-0 streak featuring two kills from both Courtney and Frantti. The Gaels attempted to halt the run with a pair of back-to-back kills, 7-4, but the Nittany Lions followed with a 7-3 stretch to double the lead, 14-7, forcing the Gaels to call a timeout.
Iona came out of the break with a kill, but Penn State continued to roll, using a 10-5 steak arrive at set point, 24-12. The Gaels managed to hold off one set point attempt, 24-13, but Whitney responded with a kill to secure a 25-13 win in the first set.
PSU and Iona traded points for the opening portion of the second set until the Nittany Lions broke open a 10-all tie with a 5-1 run to build a four-point cushion, 15-11. The Gaels called a timeout to regroup, but Penn State surged ahead with eight unanswered points to bolster the advantage to as many as 11, 23-11. A service error interrupted the rhythm, but an Iona attack error made it set point, 24-12. A pair of Penn State errors trimmed the lead back to 10, 24-14, but Grant pounded a kill to lock up set two, 25-14.
Penn State came out of the intermission swinging, using a 5-2 strike, featuring three kills from Thelen to construct a 5-2 lead. The Gaels looked to regroup with a block and a PSU error, 5-4, but The Nittany Lions answered with a solid 12-4 stretch, featuring four Penn State blocks to bolster the lead to nine, 17-8.
Iona made one final attempt to regroup with a timeout, but PSU followed with an 8-3 run to seal a 25-11 win in the third set, completing the sweep.