No. 4 Women's Volleyball Tops No. 19 Wisconsin
Oct. 12, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 4 Penn State women's volleyball team (14-2, 5-1) recorded its fifth straight conference victory, sweeping past No. 19 Wisconsin (15-3, 4-2) in straight sets (25-22, 25-17, 25-21) Saturday evening at Rec Hall.
With the win, head coach Russ Rose improves to 1,105-176 all-time, which is just one win shy of tying former UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski for second on the all-time career wins list.
Senior Ariel Scott led the Nittany Lion offense with 13 kills, marking her eighth match with double figures in the category. Seniors Katie Slay and Deja McClendon and sophomore Megan Courtney all added a second-best six kills each, while Slay led the squad with eight total blocks. McClendon also notched a team-high 17 digs, posting four blocks.
Penn State and Wisconsin opened the match battling point-for-point, tying the frame seven times before a Badger attack error knotted the set for the eighth time, 10-10. Using a pair of kills, Wisconsin pulled ahead with a slim two-point lead, 12-10. Penn State answered back with two consecutive kills from Slay and Scott to tie it up again, 12-12. After the two clubs traded service errors, the Nittany Lions maintained a narrow advantage, helped out by three consecutive Wisconsin hitting errors, 16-14.
Breaking away, PSU used a 5-1 run to construct a four-point lead, 20-15. From there, Penn State remained in control of the advantage, looking for set-point 23-19, after Scott pounded a kill. Rallying, Wisconsin tallied three quick points to jump within one, 23-22, helped out by kills from Ellen Chapman and Courtney Thomas. Regrouping, Courtney smacked a kill to make it set-point, 24-22, before a Badger attack error secured a 25-22 win in the opening frame.
Down by as many as six in set two, 13-7, Penn State fought back within one, 13-12, led by a kill from Slay, an ace from McClendon and three consecutive Badger attacking errors. Keeping it close, Penn State managed to knot the frame two more times, until McClendon and Whitney broke open a 16-all tie, registering a pair of back-to-back kills. Penn State closed out the stanza on a 7-1 streak, featuring two kills from Courtney and one from McClendon, sealing a 25-17 win to go up 2-0 in the match.
With the third set tied, 6-6, Wisconsin used a 5-0 strike, led by three straight kills from Chapman to take control of a five-point advantage, 11-6. Expanding the lead, the Badgers increased their lead to six, 15-9, before a service error halted the momentum. Rebounding, Penn State went on 5-1 run, capped off by two consecutive kills from Scott to move within two, 16-14.
Unable to maintain the lead, Wisconsin continued to battle, tying the frame three more times before an ace from junior Nia Grant lifted the Lions ahead, 21-20, forcing the Badgers to call a timeout.
Following the break, McClendon smashed a kill to make it, 22-20, but Wisconsin answered back with another kill to trim the lead. Capitalizing on two straight Badger hitting errors, Slay connected on one final kill to lock up the set, 25-21 and complete the Penn State sweep.
The Nittany Lions hit the road next weekend, traveling to Illinois and Northwestern for a pair of Big Ten tilts. Penn State visits the Fighting Illini Friday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. ET, before taking on the Wildcats in a Sunday matinee, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. ET.