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Sept. 3, 2011
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The No. 2 Penn State women's volleyball team concluded play in the University of Pittsburgh Invitational with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-11) win against New Hampshire (0-6). Penn State (4-1) remains on the road next weekend, Sept. 9-10, traveling to the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic hosted by Stanford.
The Nittany Lions used a balance offense to defeat the Wildcats. Sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) and freshman Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, N.J.), in her collegiate debut, both tallied six kills apiece. Sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) finished second on the team with five kills. Freshman Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) paced the Nittany Lion offense with 30 assists and had a match-high six aces. Junior Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) led the team defensively with 10 digs, while sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) put up six blocks.
Penn State hit a season-high .397 against the Wildcats. The Nittany Lions totaled 38 kills, nine aces, 37 digs and 8.0 team blocks. New Hampshire his .037 for the match and finished with 20 kills, one ace, 27 digs and 1.5 team blocks.
Carpenter and McClendon were named to the Pittsburgh Invitational All-Tournament Team. Hancock was named the Pittsburgh Invitational MVP.
Penn State took a 4-1 lead to open the match, but two PSU errors had the Wildcats within one, 4-3. Sophomore Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.) pounded a kill to spark a 6-1 run for a 10-4 advantage. Two UNH kills cut off the Lion run, but Scott recorded a kill beginning a 5-0 run by the Nittany Lions for a double-digit lead, 18-7. The teams traded points, but PSU remained ahead by at least nine. With a 20-11 lead, kills by Whitney and Scott and a UNH error increased the gap to 12, 23-11. The Wildcats managed three straight points before an error and a McClendon kill secured set one for PSU, 25-14.
The first set was close from the start. With the Lions leading 6-4, two Slay kills, a Martin ace and five Wildcat errors pushed Penn State on an 8-0 run for a 14-4 lead. The squads went back and forth with Penn State maintaining at least an eight-point lead. Ahead 16-8, McClendon put down a kill followed by two UNH errors to move the Lions' lead back into double-digits, 19-8. A Wildcat kill cut off a potential PSU run, but kills from Martin and Whitney moved the Nittany Lions ahead by 12, 21-19. The Wildcats tallied two more points before Penn State closed out set two with a Hancock kill, 25-11.
The Wildcats grabbed an early 2-0 lead before an 8-1 run had Penn State leading 8-3. A kill by Desiree Ates and a PSU error brought the Wildcats within three, 8-5. However, a kill from junior Marika Racibarskas (Chatham, N.J.) and two straight by Whitney increased Penn State's lead to five, 12-7. Lauren Laquerre notched a kill for the Wildcats, but Penn State countered with a 6-1 run for an 18-9 lead. Despite a PSU service error, Penn State's run continued with three straight points to increase the lead to 21-10. Amy Keding registered one final kill for the Wildcats, before a PSU kill and a block gave Penn State a 25-11 third set win.
Penn State is back in action on Sept. 9 at Stanford at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Nittany Lions will face either Florida or Texas on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2011 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.