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Oct. 1, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The ninth-ranked Nittany Lions out-blocked 10th-ranked Minnesota on their way to a 3-0 (25-15, 26-24, 25-15) sweep. Penn State improved to 10-4 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten action.
The Nittany Lions are back in action at home in Rec Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 5 versus Northwestern. The match is set to begin at 8 p.m. and will air live on the Big Ten Network. Penn State remains at home to take on No. 1 Illinois at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) led the team with 14 kills, while classmate Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) was second on the team with nine kills. Sophomore Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) totaled 29 assists and was second on the team with eight digs. Sophomore Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.) posted a career-high 10 digs to lead the Nittany Lions in the back row, while Scott had a career-best six total blocks. Slay led the team at the net with seven blocks and freshman Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) also put up six.
Penn State out-hit, out-served and out-blocked the Gophers. The Lions totaled 40 kills on .344 hitting, five aces, 41 digs and 14.5 total team blocks. Minnesota closed out the night hitting .143 with 37 kills, 41 digs and 4.0 team blocks.
The first set started out close until back-to-back errors moved Penn State ahead by three, 9-6. The Gophers came within one, 9-8, before a 4-0 Penn State run had the Lions up by five, 13-8. After a Minnesota timeout, Penn State's lead continued to grow as a 5-2 run pushed Penn State up by seven, 18-11. The Gophers called a second time out, but it failed to slow the Lions. Two kills from Hancock, one from Scott and two Longo aces helped propel Penn State to a 25-15 first set win.
The Nittany Lions would trail the Gophers for much of the first half of the second frame. Slay knotted the score at 14-14 with a kill, but the score would tie six more times before a kill from Minnesota's Tori Dixon and a PSU error had the Gophers ahead by two, 22-20. Penn State called a timeout and closed the gap to one, 23-22, sending Minnesota to the bench. Freshman Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, N.J.) tied the score at 23 all before Minnesota's Ashley Wittman pounded a kill to give the Gophers the edge, 24-23. Slay put down a kill for the Lions before teaming up with Hancock for a block for a 25-24 lead. Slay then joined forces with Whitney for another block to give Penn State a 26-24 victory.
The third stanza was close from the start until a 4-0 run by Penn State saw the Lions ahead by four, 12-8. Minnesota called a timeout, but Penn State's lead only continued to grow with two kills each from senior Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) and Slay and a triple block by sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.), Grant and Scott. With a 19-12 advantage, Minnesota called its final timeout. The move proved too little, too late as the Nittany Lion lead grew to 10, 24-14, with the aid of three Gopher errors. Despite a PSU service error, Scott closed out the set in Penn State's favor with a kill, 25-15.
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.