No. 10 Nebraska Narrowly Escapes No. 5 Penn State, 3-2
Sept. 21, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. - In front of a sold out crowd at the NU Coliseum, the 10th-ranked Huskers (8-1) scraped past the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions (7-4) for a 3-2 (25-18, 25-16, 23-25, 19-25, 15-10) win. Despite losing the first two sets, Penn State rallied to win the third and fourth before the Huskers claimed the fifth for the victory.
Sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) led the Nittany Lions with a career-high and match-best 23 kills. Sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) was second on the squad with 16 kills. Freshman Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) dished out 53 assists and finished second on the team with 12 digs. Sophomore Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) had a team-best 16 digs, while McClendon posted 13. Freshman Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) put up a team-high five blocks, while Scott and Slay totaled four apiece.
The Nittany Lions hit .182 for the match and totaled 56 kills, three aces, 60 digs and 9.0 team blocks. Nebraska finished the night hitting .229 with 62 kills, three aces, 66 digs and 11.0 team blocks.
The first set was close from the start, but the Huskers grabbed a two-point lead, 10-8, on a kill and a PSU error. Slay pounded a kill to move Penn State within one before Carpenter notched an ace to knot the score at 10-10. A 3-0 run by Nebraska gave the Huskers a 13-10 lead. Whitney put down a kill for the Lions, but Nebraska tallied two more points before a timeout with the score at 15-11. Nebraska's lead grew to five, 17-12, but the Nittany Lions managed to work to within four, 20-16. Two straight points by the Huskers forced a Penn State timeout. The break failed to slow the Huskers as a kill from Gina Mancuso and a PSU error had Nebraska at set point, 24-17. A solo stuff by Slay held off the Huskers momentarily before one final kill by Nebraska secured set one for the Huskers, 25-18.
The Huskers grabbed a 3-0 lead to start set one before McClendon spiked one down the line to put Penn State on the board. The Nittany Lions worked their way to within two, 7-5, but a 3-1 run had the Huskers with a comfortable 10-6 lead. Kills from McClendon and Scott and a double block from Grant and Scott pulled the Lions within one, 10-9. However, Mancuso put away three straight kills for another four point advantage, 13-9. Penn State closed the gap to two, 16-14, just past midway through the frame. Nebraska took off on a 7-1 run to take a 23-15 lead. McClendon managed one final kill before back-to-back kills from Morgan Broekhuis ended set two in Nebraska's favor, 25-16.
Nebraska wasted no time in set three taking a 7-2 lead. The Husker lead increased to six, 12-6, before a 4-1 Penn State run had the Lions only trailing by three, 13-10. Nebraska continued to maintain the lead, but the Nittany Lions used a 5-2 run to be within one of tying the set, 17-16. Two Nebraska errors and a McClendon kill gave Penn State its first lead of the set, 19-17. The Huskers fought back to tie it up at 20-20 before a kill from Scott had the Lions back in the lead with a 21-20 edge. However, a PSU error and a Nebraska kill moved the Huskers back in front, 22-21. Penn State called a timeout and used putdowns from Whitney and Scott to take a 23-22 lead. A joint stuff by Scott and Slay had Penn State at set point, 24-22. Nebraska managed one final point before Scott slammed one cross-court for a 25-23 victory.
The Nittany Lions were on the board first in the fourth set taking a 2-0 lead off a Hancock ace and a McClendon kill. A 4-1 Husker run had Nebraska taking a slim 4-3 lead, but two PSU kills and a Nebraska error pushed Penn State up by two, 6-4. Errors began to plague the Huskers and helped Penn State drive ahead with a 12-6 advantage. Despite a PSU service error, a McClendon kill kept Penn State's lead at six with a kill, 13-7. Penn State's lead grew to eight, 16-8, before Nebraska began closing the gap coming as close as five, 16-11. A joint stuff by Scott and Grant and a Nittany Lion kill increased Penn State's lead to seven, 18-11. Nebraska wouldn't go away, however, and used a 3-0 run to be within four, 18-14, and force a Penn State timeout. The Nittany Lions grabbed the next two points after the break, but Nebraska crept back to within four, 20-16. A 4-1 run put Penn State in set point position, 24-18. Jordan Wilberger tallied one final kill for the Huskers before Hancock slammed one to the left corner for the triumph, 25-19!
The Huskers wasted no time in the fifth frame taking a 3-0 lead. A Nebraska error put the Lions on the board, but Mancuso put one away for the Huskers for a 4-1 lead. Nebraska increased their lead to 5-2 when Penn State called a timeout. Two Nebraska errors and a Scott kill had the Lions within one, 6-5, but a 4-1 Husker run sent Penn State to the bench for a second timeout with the score at 10-6. The Nebraska lead proved too great a lead to overcome as the Huskers moved closer to a win with a 13-8 lead. Scott managed two final kills before the Huskers closed out the set, 15-10.
Penn State is back in action on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Iowa. Action is set for 8 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.