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Oct. 7, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team kept their streak alive Wednesday night with a 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 25-15, 25-13) victory against Ohio State (14-4, 2-3 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions have now won 50 consecutive Big Ten matches and an NCAA-record 81 straight matches overall. Penn State (17-0, 5-0) owns the top four winning streaks in the league.
The Nittany Lions had three players with double-digit kills. Senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led the squad with 18, while freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) and junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) posted 13 and 11, respectively. Senior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out 47 assists and a team-best 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. Junior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) led Penn State with a career-high 12 total blocks and junior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) recorded eight total blocks. Junior Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) had two of the team's four aces.
Penn State totaled 57 kills while attacking at a .353 clip. The squad also posted 5 digs and 18.0 total team blocks. The Buckeyes finished the night with 46 kills, 40 digs and just 4.0 team blocks.
The Buckeyes took a 6-1 lead in set one before the Nittany Lions began to make a comeback. After an OSU service error made it 6-2 in favor of the Buckeyes, Brown sparked Penn State into action with a kill. D'Errico notched an ace and Wilson posted a kill to bring the Nittany Lions within one point, 6-5. Penn State finally tied the score at 7-7 after swings by Brown and Wilson for kills. Hodge gave PSU its first lead with a monster kill that landed just inside the back line, but Ohio State's Ashley Hughes tied it up at 8-8 with a kill. The Nittany Lions took the lead for good on back-to-back kills by Wilson. PSU extended its lead to four, 12-8, before the Buckeyes notched another point, but the Nittany Lions soon had control of the ball again after kills by Glass and Dorton for a 14-9 advantage. The Buckeyes fought back to within three, 14-11, off two PSU errors. However, Penn State's blocking prowess soon had the Lions up by seven, 18-11, and Ohio State taking a timeout. OSU's timeout slowed the Nittany Lions' momentum enough to allow the Buckeye's to come within four, 18-14, but PSU was soon back in charge. Hodge tallied four of Penn State's last five points to give the Nittany Lions a 25-17 first set win.
The second set started out much different from the first as Penn State took a 6-2 lead. Dorton had two kills, while Balza joined forces with Brown and Dorton for two blocks to give the Lions the early lead. Despite two kills by Brown and one each from Dorton and Hodge, the Buckeyes managed to tie it up, 14-14, by mid point of the frame. Wilson gave the Nittany Lions a slim lead, 15-14, with a kill, but the Buckeyes soon had the lead after a kill by Kelli Barhorst and a PSU error. The two teams went back and forth before a kill by Balza and an ace from D'Errico put Penn State ahead by one, 20-19, and forced Ohio State to take a timeout. Following the timeout, two straight kills by Kristen Dozier put the Buckeyes up 21-20 and Penn State headed to the bench. The timeout failed to slow the Buckeyes and despite a kill by by Glass, stole set two, 25-23.
The Nittany Lions got off to a good start in the second set with a block by Balza and Brown, but the two teams stayed neck-and-neck until Hodge pounded a kill to a wide-open space in the back row for a 9-6 lead. After a Buckeye timeout, Wilson and Glass teamed up for a block and two OSU errors had Penn State ahead by six, 12-6, and Ohio State was back on the bench. The timeout did little to slow the Lions as Wilson and Glass had another block followed by two consecutive kills from Hodge for a nine-point lead, 15-6. OSU's Ashley Hughes registered a kill, but Penn State maintained control and was ahead by double-digits, 20-9, with two kills by Wilson and one each from Brown, Balza and Dorton. The Buckeyes managed to cut the Nittany Lions lead to nine, 24-15, but Glass capped off the set with a kill to put Penn State ahead two sets to one.
The Buckeyes took a 4-0 lead in the fourth set, but a block by Dorton and Balza put the Nittany Lions on the board. Ohio State recorded two more point, but PSU managed to tie the set, 6-6, on two blocks by Brown and a kill from Wilson. Dozier put the Buckeyes back in the lead with a kill albeit briefly as kills by Wilson and Dorton and an OSU error had the Nittany Lions leading, 10-8. Buckeye Katie Dull managed two kills, but Penn State was on a roll and tallied five straight points for a 16-10 lead. Dozier broke up the run with a kill, however the Nittany Lions never let up. Hodge tallied four kills as Penn State closed out the set, 25-13, for a 3-1 match win.
The Nittany Lions are back in action on Sunday, Oct. 11 at No. 5 Minnesota at 1 p.m. The match will air live on the Big Ten Network and live audio will be available on GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions remain on the road for matches at No. 8 Michigan and No. 18 Michigan State on Oct. 16-17. Penn State returns home on Friday, Oct. 23 for an 8 p.m. match with Indiana.