No. 1 Women's Volleyball Tops No. 8 Florida in Straight Sets
Sep 8, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball (3-1) defeated No. 8 Florida (5-1) in straight sets (25-18, 25-17, 25-20) in the final match of the Nike Big Four Classic in Austin, Texas Sunday afternoon, improving to 8-3 all-time against the Gators and 2-0 in the event.
Sophomore Megan Courtney led the Nittany Lions offense with her first double-double of the season, notching 11 kills and a team-best 12 digs. Redshirt freshman Paulina Prieto Cerame followed close behind with nine kills, while junior Nia Grant recorded eight kills.
Junior Micha Hancock registered a squad best performance from the service line with five aces, while posting five kills on six errorless swings for a .833 hitting clip.
After trailing early in the opening set, Hancock broke open a tie game, 7-7, with a pair of back-to-back service aces. Courtney and McClendon followed with kills to give the Nittany Lions a three-point advantage, 11-8. Holding on to the lead, PSU used a 9-4 streak to construct a 19-12 advantage, forcing the Gators to call two timeouts to in an effort to halt the momentum.
Following the break, UF used three consecutive kills and a service ace to attempt a comeback, 23-18, but was unable to mount a run as a Gator service error put Dominque Gonzalez at the line for set-point, 24-18. Gonzalez connected on an ace to seal the set, 25-18 in favor of the Nittany Lions.
Tied at 8-all in the second frame, Penn State used an 11-1 stretch to construct a double-digit advantage, 19-9. Hancock highlighted the streak with three straight aces, while Prieto Cerame added two kills. Looking for set-point, 24-13, Florida remained alive, following three PSU attacking errors, 24-17. The Gators couldn't spark any momentum though, as a service error from Ziva Recek gave the Lions set two, 25-17.
Down by three, 6-3, in the third frame, Penn State rallied from behind with a 5-1 run, capped off by an ace from Grant, to claim the advantage, 8-7. Florida answered back with two kills to knot the game again, 9-9. As both teams continued to trade the lead throughout the remainder of the set, Recek smacked a kill to put the Gators up by one, 20-19.
Penn State then used a 5-0 run to close out the third set, as Grant, Courtney and Hancock all pounded kills to secure the victory.
Next up, the Nittany Lions will remain on the road, traveling to Florida Gulf Coast University to compete in the FGCU Tournament. While in Fort Myers, PSU will square off against Marquette, Central Arkansas and tournament host, FGCU. The 2013 Penn State women's volleyball season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.