No. 10 Texas Holds Off No. 2 Penn State in Five-Set Thriller
Sept. 10, 2011
PALO ALTO, Calif. - In a match which began much like the 2009 NCAA National Championship match, No. 10 Texas fought off a Nittany Lion comeback for a 3-2 (25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 14-25, 15-10) win. Penn State is back in action Sept. 16-17 in the Penn State Classic at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions host Long Island, Rutgers and Florida Gulf Coast.
Sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) tied her career-high with a match-high 25 kills. Freshman Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, N.J.) was second on the team with 15 kills. Junior libero Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) posted a personal-best 23 digs, while freshman Lacey Fuller (San Diego, Calif.) and freshman setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) had 13 and 12 digs, respectively. Sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) led the Nittany Lions with eight total blocks, while freshman Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and Hancock had five blocks apiece.
Penn State out-hit, out-killed, out-served, out-dug and out-blocked the Longhorns. The Nittany Lions totaled 61 kills on .217 hitting, 10 aces, 69 digs and 13.5 total team blocks. Texas finished the match with 50 kills on .152 hitting, nine aces, 62 digs and 13.0 team blocks.
The Nittany Lions are now 10-7 all-time against Texas. This is Texas' first win against Penn State since Sept. 1989.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 5-2 lead to open the match, but a 4-1 run by the Longhorns had the score knotted at 6-6. Two blocks put Texas up by two, 8-6, but kills by Grant, McClendon and Hancock had the score at 10 all. Each team tallied a kill before three straight Longhorn points gave Texas a 14-11 lead. The Lions fought to within three after a trio of kills, but a 3-0 Longhorn run had Texas ahead by five, 18-13. Texas' lead grew to seven, 21-14, before a 6-2 Penn State run had the Lions within three, 23-20. After a Longhorn timeout, a Hancock ace and a block by McClendon and Slay had PSU within one, 23-22. Sarah Palmer recorded a kill to put Texas at set point, but McClendon pounded a kill to delay the end of the set. Khat Bell pounded a kill to close out the set for Texas, 25-23.
Neither team managed to develop a comfortable lead early in the second frame. Finally with an 11-10 edge, Texas embarked on a 7-1 run for an 18-11 advantage. Penn State clawed its way back to within three, 19-16, after two kills from Whitney, one from Hancock and an ace from senior Megan Shifflett (Falls Church, Va.). Back-to-back Longhorn kills increased the gap to five, 21-16, and forced a Nittany Lion timeout. Hancock and Whitney each notched a kill to move Penn State within three, 21-18. However, two PSU errors and a Texas kill had the Longhorns at set point, 24-18. McClendon put down two kills to extend the set, but a service error would secure set two for Texas, 25-20.
Despite a slow start by the Nittany Lions and trailing the Longhorns 6-3, Penn State took off on an 11-7 run for a 14-7 lead. The Nittany Lions continued to control the set, but the Longhorns began to charge back cutting Penn State's lead to four, 20-16, and forcing a Lion timeout. The Nittany Lions managed to hold off the Longhorns thanks to two kills by Whitney, one each from Slay and McClendon and a Texas service error. Penn State won set three, 25-19.
The Nittany Lions leapt out to a 6-0 lead to start the fourth stanza. Madelyn Hutson put the Longhorns on the board with a kill. Kills from McClendon and Scott push Penn State ahead by seven, 8-1. Texas tallied two points to close the gap to five, 8-3, but a 6-1 Nittany Lion run had Penn State's lead in double-digits, 14-4. Texas crept to within eight, 15-7, but two Longhorn errors and a McClendon kill kept Penn State convincingly ahead, 19-8. The Longhorns were unable to come any closer than nine points for the remainder of the set. Grant put Penn State at set point, 24-14, before McClendon pounded a kill for a 25-14 fourth set victory.
Penn State opened the fifth with a 2-0 lead, but Texas answered tying it at 2-2. The Lions moved back ahead by two, 4-2, but a PSU error and a Longhorn kill tied it up at 4-4. The score tied again at 5-5 before a 3-0 Longhorn run had Texas leading, 8-5. The Nittany Lions were unable to recover as the Longhorns lead grew to five, 12-7. Two kills put Texas at match point, but three points by the Lions kept the match alive. Leading 14-10, Texas called a timeout and Bailey Webster closed it out with a kill for a 15-10 fifth set win.
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.