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Sept. 14, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The third-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team used a multi-faceted offense to defeat Yale in three games (30-14, 30-14, 30-20) Friday night in New Haven, Conn., to open up play in the Yale Classic. The Nittany Lions improve to 7-1 while handing the Bulldogs their first loss of the season.
Three Nittany Lion players reached double-digit kills as the team attacked at a season-high .523 clip. Junior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) recorded a team- and season-high 15 kills on a season-best .737 hitting percentage (15-1-19) while junior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) posted 14 kills on 20 attacks with only two errors to hit a season-best .600. Sophomore outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) provided 13 kills while senior Melissa Walbridge (Yardley, Pa.) connected on six of her seven errorless attempts to hit a career-high-tying .857 and senior Kate Price (Fraser, Mich.) posted six kills on .364 hitting.
Sophomore Jessica Yanz (Bolingbrook, Ill.) dished out 42 assists and added a kill and four digs as junior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) notched a match-high 13 digs. Hodge chipped in seven digs as Price and freshman Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) each recorded five digs.
Penn State dominated from behind the service line, racking up nine service aces to Yale's two. Fawcett led the Lions with a season-high three winners as Holehouse and D'Errico notched two each and Hodge and Price tallied one each.
The Nittany Lions also claimed the blocking game, recording 10 blocks to the Bulldogs' four. Price led the way with a season-high four stuffs as Walbridge, Fawcett, Harmotto and freshman Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) each tallied three blocks and Hodge added one.
Laurel Johnson led Yale with eight kills as Alexis Crusey posted seven.
Penn State used back to back Holehouse aces and a block from Fawcett and Walbridge to take the 5-3 lead to start the match. A Hodge kill extended the lead to 12-6 and consecutive Harmotto put-aways sparked a six-point Nittany Lion run, capped by a Harmotto block to extend the lead to 18-9. The teams traded points and a Harmotto slide kill coupled with a Walbridge put-away made it 21-11. The squads again exchanged scores and a Fawcett kill put Penn State up 23-14 before strong serving from D'Errico, including two aces, aided the Nittany Lions in claming the next seven points to take the game 30-14. Penn State racked up five aces in the set while producing four blocks and hitting .360.
The second game remained relatively close at the start, with two Harmotto kills and a Hodge put-away giving the Lions the 10-6 lead. The teams exchanged errors and kills twice before two Hodge kills aided Penn State in going up 17-10. Two more kills, one from Price and another from sophomore Kelsey Ream (State College, Pa.) pushed the lead to 19-11 and put-aways from Hodge and Harmotto made it 22-13. Out of a Yale timeout, Penn State responded by scoring the next eight points - with five coming on kills from Harmotto - to take the game, 30-14.
A Walbridge overpass kill gave Penn State the 4-1 lead to begin the third game but Yale remained close, with a kill and a block pulling it to within one at 8-7. Hodge and Harmotto kills gave the Nittany Lions a three-point cushion at 10-7 and a block by Walbridge and Price made it 13-9 before consecutive Fawcett kills gave Penn State the 15-9 lead. The squads traded points twice but two Yale kills and three Penn State attack errors pulled the Bulldogs to within one at 17-16. A Hodge kill halted the run and following a Yale kill, two more Hodge put-aways gave Penn State the 20-17 lead. The squads traded points and two Fawcett kills made it 23-19 before a block by Wilson and Price and another Fawcett kill forced a Yale timeout at 25-19. Another Price and Wilson block out of a Bulldog timeout made it 26-19 and following a Lion error, a Wilson kill, two Fawcett aces ad a block by Wilson and Price ended the game, 30-20.
Penn State takes on Delaware State on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 12:00 p.m. before facing No. 2 Stanford at 7:00 p.m. to close out action in the Yale Classic. The Nittany Lions open up the Big Ten season at home next weekend, hosting Michigan State and Northwestern on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22 at 7:00 p.m. each night at Rec Hall.