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Sept. 24, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The fifth-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team (8-4, 1-1 Big Ten) earned its first conference win in 2011 with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-14) sweep of Iowa.
Sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) led the Nittany Lions with 18 kills, while classmate Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) totaled 10. Freshman Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) dished out 37 assists and was second on the team with seven digs. Sophomore Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) had a team-high 17 digs and sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) put up five total blocks.
Penn State hit .234 against the Hawkeyes and totaled 45 kills, five aces, 50 digs and 6.0 team blocks. Iowa (10-5, 0-2 Big Ten) finished the match hitting .158 with 37 kills, two aces, 56 digs and 1.0 team block.
It wasn't until midway through the first set that the Nittany Lions finally took the lead. With the scored tied at 11-11, a 5-2 Penn State run gave Penn State a 16-13 lead. Penn State's lead grew to five, before two straight points by the Hawkeyes had Iowa within three, 21-18. An Iowa service error and a kill from Scott moved Penn State back ahead by five, 23-18, but a 4-0 Iowa run closed the gap to one, 23-22. McClendon put Penn State at set point with a kill, 24-22. The Hawkeyes pounded one final kill before Scott tallied a kill to close out set one for PSU, 25-23.
The Hawkeyes took a 6-2 lead to open the second frame before a 6-2 Nittany Lion run had the score knotted at 8-8. The score tied five times before an Iowa kill and an error by the Lions put the Hawkeyes up by two, 15-13. The Hawkeyes maintained the lead until a 3-0 PSU run gave Penn State a slim 17-16 edge. After an Iowa timeout, Penn State's lead grew to three, 20-17, before back-to-back kills from Tiffany Nilges put Iowa within one, 20-19. A PSU error had the Hawkeyes tying it up at 20-20, but a Slay block and a Scott kill pushed Penn State back into the lead, 22-20. Two consecutive Iowa kills had the score at 22 all, but two Penn State kills had the Nittany Lions at set point, 24-22. McClendon won set to for the Nittany Lions with a kill, 25-23.
Penn State hopped out to a 5-2 lead to start the third set. A PSU service error put the ball in Iowa's hands, but an 8-0 Nittany Lion run, including two kills from redshirt sophomore Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) had the Lions leading by 10, 13-3. Nilges notched a kill, but Penn State's run continued as the Lions recorded five more points for an 18-4 advantage. The Hawkeyes slowed the Lions momentarily, going on a 7-3 run to come within 10, 21-11. Kills from Scott and Dorton had Penn State just two points from claiming the set and the match, 23-11. The Hawkeyes managed three final points before two errors secured the third set for Penn State, 25-14.
The Nittany Lions return home on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 to host Wisconsin and Minnesota. Penn State faces the Badgers on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. before challenging the Gophers on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.
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.