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Sept. 30, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The ninth-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team (9-4, 2-1 Big Ten) earned a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-22) victory against conference foe Wisconsin (9-6, 1-2 Big Ten) Friday night. The Nittany Lions host No. 10 Minnesota on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Rec Hall. The match will air live on the Big Ten Network.
Sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) led the Nittany Lions with a match-high 12 kills. Sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) posted eight kills on .778 hitting, while sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) also tallied eight. Freshman Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) dished out 29 assists and had a match-high four aces. Sophomore libero Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) recorded nine digs, while Slay had a team-best five total blocks.
The Nittany Lions hit .202 against the Badgers and totaled 39 kills, 10 aces, 34 digs and 11.5 total team blocks. Wisconsin registered a .105 hitting percentage and finished the match with 32 kills, four aces, 42 digs and 7.5 team blocks.
Penn State opened the match with a 5-2 lead, but the Badgers tallied two points to cut the Lions' lead to one, 5-4. The Nittany Lions used an 8-3 run, which included two kills from McClendon and one each from Scott and sophomore Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.), to establish a 13-7 lead midway through the frame. Wisconsin called a timeout and fought to within two, 14-12, but freshman Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) pounded a kill to spark a 5-0 run for a 19-12 advantage. After a second Wisconsin timeout, the Lions let the Badgers no closer than five points, 23-17, before a Slay kill and a Wisconsin error secured the first set for Penn State, 25-18.
After not developing a strong early lead, the Badgers took control using a 5-1 run for a 13-9 lead. Penn State called a timeout and slowly cut the gap to one, 15-14. Kills from freshman Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, N.J.) and Scott and a Wisconsin error gave the Nittany Lions a slim lead, 17-16. Wisconsin called a timeout and momentarily knotted the score at 17-17, but a 3-0 run by PSU had Penn State ahead by three, 20-17. Wisconsin burned its final timeout, but the Nittany Lions continued to charge ahead. With a 23-20 lead, McClendon put down a kill and Hancock notched an ace for a 25-20 win and a 2-0 Penn State lead in the match.
The Nittany Lions began the third stanza leaping out to a 9-2 lead, which included two blocks each from Slay, Scott and Whitney. The Badgers called a timeout and managed to slow the Nittany Lions enough to come within one point, 12-11, of tying the set. Scott and Grant pounded kills to keep Penn State out of harm's way, but a Penn State service error kept the Badgers within striking distance, 14-12. Another Scott kill, a McClendon ace and a Wisconsin error increased Penn State's lead to five, 17-12. Wisconsin used its second timeout and worked to within three, 20-17, sending the Lions to the bench. Despite a kill from Martin, a 3-0 UW run had the Badgers trailing by only one, 21-20. Penn State headed back to the bench, but a Badger kill tied the set at 21-21. A Slay kill pulled Penn State back into the lead and another Wisconsin error gave the Lions some breathing room. The Badgers managed one final kill before Slay posted a kill and an ace to win the set, 25-22.
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.