No. 2 Penn State Suffers 3-2 Setback to No. 9 Illinois
Sept. 24, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In a five-set thriller in front of a sellout crowd in Huff Hall, No.2 Penn State suffered a 3-2 (25-17, 14-25, 19-25, 25-14, 15-17) setback to No. 9 Illinois. The loss ended Penn State's 65-match Big Ten winning streak. Tonight's match will air on the Big Ten Network on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.
The Nittany Lions 65-match conference winning streak dated back to a 3-0 sweep of Iowa on Nov. 11, 2006. Penn State finished the 2006 season with an 18-2 record in league play and went a perfect 20-0 in Big Ten play for the next three seasons. Penn State owns the top three winning streaks in league history.
Senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) led the Nittany Lions with a match-high 17 kills on .536 hitting. Senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) was second on the team with 16 kills and freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) tallied 12. Senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) posted a career-high 26 digs and had two aces, while sophomore setter Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 53 assists and had 10 digs. Wilson led the team in blocks with six, while Brown had five.
Penn State registered a .229 attack percentage and managed to hold the Illini to .198. The Nittany Lions totaled 57 kills, 55 assists, seven aces, 68 digs and 12.0 total team blocks. Illinois finished the match with 60 kills, 57 assists, three aces, 70 digs and 12.0 team blocks.
Junior Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) and Wilson put the Lions on the board first with a monster block, but Illinois wasn't far behind with a kill from Michelle Bartsch. The teams went back and forth briefly until a kill and an ace by Brown gave Penn State a 5-3 edge. The score remained close, but Penn State maintained the lead. With a 9-7 lead, the Nittany Lions used two Kabbes putdowns and an ace by senior Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) for a12-8 lead. After an Illini timeout, the PSU lead increased to five thanks to a Brown kill. The Nittany Lions held on to at least a four-point lead until a PSU service error and Illinois kill had the Illini within two, 15-13. Depsite two Bartsch kills for Illinois, two by Penn State's Brown and an Illinois service error kept Penn State in front, 18-15. Penn State recorded another service error, but two Illini attack errors put the Nittany Lions back ahead by four, 20-16. A second Illinois timeout did little to aid a comeback by the Illini. Illinois posted two errors to increase the gap to six, 22-16. A kill from Illini Erin Johnson put the Illini within five, but an ace and a kill by Brown put Penn State in set-point position. McClendon closed out set one for PSU with a kill, 25-17.
Kabbes opened set two with a kill, but two straight Illini putdowns had Illinois ahead early, 2-1. Senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) tied it up for PSU with a kill, but Johannah tallied a kill for the Illini to put them back in front, 3-2. The score tied once more before the Illini embarked on a 6-0 run for a 9-3 lead. A block by Slay and McClendon cut off the run and two kills by Wilson had Penn State within four, 10-6. After a PSU service error and a Kabbes kill, the Illini took off on an 8-1 tear for a double-digit lead, 19-8. A Kabbes kill, an Illini attack error and McClendon putdown put the Nittany Lions within eight, 19-11. The Illini lead grew to 10, 21-11, before a service error gave PSU another point. A Balza kill and an Illinois attack error were the final two points for PSU as the Illini ran away with set two, 25-14.
Set three started out close with the score tying three times before the Illini went on a 5-0 run for a 9-4 advantage. Penn State called a timeout and McClendon and Wilson each posted a kill to bring the Lions within four, 10-6. An attack error by the Illini put PSU within three, 10-7, but an Illinois block and a PSU error had the Illini back up by five, 12-7. Wilson used a kill to put PSU within four, 12-8, and after a long rally Wilson teamed up with Brown for a huge stuff to make it a three-point set, 12-9. A 4-0 run by the Illini brought the score to 16-9 in favor of Illinois, but Brown cut off the run with a kill. The teams traded points with neither side able to build any momentum. With the Illini ahead 20-14, Penn State called a timeout. After the timeout, an Illini attack error and McClendon ace pulled the Lions within four, 20-16. Illinois registered the next three points before Wilson put down a kill and joined forces with Brown for a stuff. Leading 23-18, Bangert put the Illini in set-point position with a kill. Wilson recorded one final kill for PSU before Bartsch claimed the set for Illinois with a kill, 25-19.
The Nittany Lions grabbed a 6-2 lead to start set four forcing an early Illini timeout. The Illini fought back to knot the score at 7-7, but three consecutive Nittany Lion points put Penn State ahead for good. The Illini managed another point before a small 3-0 run by PSU giving the Lions a 13-8 lead. After an Illinois timeout, the Illini came within three before a 5-1 run by the Nittany Lions had Penn State leading, 18-11. The Illini managed two points to come within five, 18-13, but Penn State went on a 5-0 run for a 10-point advantage. Bangert put away one final kill for Illinois before Brown and Kabbes closed out the set for Penn State, 25-14.
The Illini took a 3-0 lead to start the fifth and final set, but kills from McClendon and Wilson and an Illinois attack error had Penn State within one, 4-3. A solo block by Wilson tied the set at 4-4. Bangert put the Illini in front with a kill, but a Bartsch attack error had the score tied up again at 5-5. Back-to-back Illinois kills gave the Illini a two-point edge, 7-5, but two straight Brown kills made it 7-7. Laura DeBruler put the Illini in front again, but another Bartsch error and a McClendon kill put Penn State in front for the first time in set five, 10-9. An ace by D'Errico gave Penn State a two-point cushion, 11-9, and set the Illini to the bench. The Illini managed the first point after the timeout, but Wilson notched a kill to keep PSU ahead by two, 12-10. A Penn State service error brought the Illini within one, 12-11, but another Wilson putdown had Penn State leading 13-11. Two consecutive kills by Colleen Ward tied the score at 13-13 and forced Penn State to call a timeout. Wilson followed the timeout with a kill, but the Ward came up big for the Illini and tied it up at 14-14 with a kill. DeBruler put Illinois ahead with a kill, but Brown followed suit with one of her own to tie it at 15-15. A DeBruler kill and a PSU attack error closed out the set for Illinois, 17-15.
What's Next? Penn State is back in action Sunday, Sept. 16 at Wisconsin at 2 p.m. ET. The match will air via tape-delay on the Big Ten Network Sunday evening at 9 p.m.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2010 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets at Hershey.