No. 5 Nittany Lions Sweep Blackbirds, 3-0
Sept. 16, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The fifth-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team (5-3) earned a 3-0 (29-27, 25-8, 25-13) victory against Long Island (3-8) on Friday evening. The Nittany Lions continue play in the Hampton Inn Classic on Saturday, Sept. 17 with matches vs. Rutgers (10 a.m.) and Florida Gulf Coast (7 p.m.). Both matches will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com.
Sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) led the team with nine kills on .438 hitting, while sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) had eight kills each. Freshman Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, N.J.) rounded out the top hitters with six kills on .500 hitting. Freshman setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) paced the offense with 23 assists and tied for second on the team with seven digs. McClendon led the team with eight digs and Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) had seven. Slay was a wall at the net with five total blocks and both Hancock and freshman Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) tallied four apiece.
The Nittany Lions hit .308 against the Blackbirds, totaling 38 kills, six aces, 33 digs and 10.0 team blocks. Long Island hit -.067 and had 22 kills, three aces, 24 digs and 6.0 team blocks.
The first set proved to be a marathon as neither team was able to put the set away. Penn State had a 9-6 lead early in the frame, but a 6-0 Long Island run had the Lions trailing by three, 12-9. Despite a timeout, Penn State continued to trail until a Slay kill and a McClendon ace knotted the set at 16-16. A Scott putdown and a joint stuff by Slay and Hancock moved Penn State ahead by two, 18-16. Penn State's lead grew to three, 20-17, forcing a Blackbird timeout. Long Island managed to tie the score at 20-20, but a Blackbird error and a Hancock ace pushed the Nittany Lions back in the lead by two, 22-20. Two straight PSU errors tied it up at 22-22 and three Long Island kills had the Blackbirds with the edge, 25-24. Another Penn State timeout slowed Long Island enough for Penn State to move back into the lead, 26-25, with a Slay kill and a Longo ace. However, the score tied twice more before a McClendon putdown and a LIU error secured the set for PSU, 29-27.
The Nittany Lions leapt out to a 6-1 lead in the second stanza. Long Island called a timeout and managed to close the gap to three, 7-4. From there, errors plagued the Blackbirds as nine errors and a Scott kill moved Penn State's lead into double-digits, 14-4. Despite a LIU timeout, Penn State's lead grew to 12, 16-4. A PSU service error gave the ball to Long Island, but a 7-1 Lion run had Penn State two points from claiming set two, 23-7. A Blackbird kill and a Nittany Lion hitting error gave Long Island its final two points of the set. Two more errors by Long Island followed to close set two out in Penn State's favor, 25-8.
Penn State opened the final set with a 3-0 lead. The Nittany Lions maintained at least a two-point advantage until a 5-0 run had the team leading by six, 13-7. Long Island tried to cut off the run with a kill, but Penn State tallied four more points for a 17-8 lead. After a Blackbird timeout, Long Island tallied two kills before a 6-1 Penn State run had the Lions just two points, 23-11, from winning the match. LIU notched two final kills before a Scott putdown and a block by Slay and Hancock gave Penn State a 25-13 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.