Rose Reaches Record in Five Set Win at Illinois
Oct. 18, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, ILL. - Head coach Russ Rose earned his 1,106th career victory Friday evening as the No. 4 Penn State women's volleyball team (15-2, 6-1) rallied to a close 3-2 victory (19 -25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-15, 15-12) at Illinois (7-10, 3-4). With the triumph, Rose is now tied for second on the NCAA DI all-time wins list with former UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski.
Senior Deja McClendon led the offense with 14 kills adding 10 digs for a double-double, while seniors Katie Slay and Ariel Scott added 12 kills each. Junior Nia Grant also registered double-digit kills, notching 10 kills and a team-high six blocks. Junior Dominique Gonzalez anchored the defense with a squad-best 13 digs.
Following some early back and forth action, Gonzalez knotted the first set with a service ace, 8-8, before the Fighting Illini fired two back-to-back kills and an ace to pull Illinois ahead by three, 11-8. McClendon halted the momentum with a kill, but the Nittany Lions struggled to settle into an offensive rhythm as the Illini moved ahead by eight, 18-10, helped out by a 7-2 run.
Trailing by eight again, 22-13, PSU shaved the deficit back to six, 22-16, helped out by a kill from Hancock and two Illinois attacking errors. Penn State made one final attempt to mount a comeback as Scott pounded a kill and then paired up with Slay for a block to make it 23-18, but couldn't continue the momentum, losing set one, 25-19.
Rallying back from a 15-7 deficit in set two, Penn State used a 6-1 stretch to close the gap to three, 16-13. Looking to get back on top, the Illini followed with three straight kills, but Penn State delivered a 10-4 streak, capped off by consecutive blocks from duos of Grant and Hancock and McClendon and Hancock to secure a 23-20 lead. Holding off pressure, Grant and Slay tallied a pair of kills to give the Nittany Lions a 25-22 win in the frame to tie the match, 1-1.
Penn State shot out to a 6-2 lead in set three, led by four kills from McClendon. The Illini managed to trim the advantage back to two, 7-5, but a kill from redshirt freshman Paulina Prieto Cerame and a block by Grant and Scott kept the Nittany Lions on top, 9-5. PSU couldn't shake Illinois, as the Illini fought within one, 13-12, before tying the set, 13-13.
A kill from Slay and a block by Scott and Grant lifted Penn State ahead, 15-13, but the two teams knotted the frame three more times until the Illini used a 4-0 streak to pull away with a four-point lead, 20-17.
Following two Illinois attacking errors, McClendon connected on a kill, followed by a block from Slay and Scott to move Penn State within one, 22-21. The Nittany Lions managed to tie it up two more times, until a net violation and a kill from Illinois gave the Illini a close 26-24 win in the third set for a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Both squads kept it close early in the fourth set until Penn State cracked open a 9-all tie with a 4-0 spurt, featuring two kills from McClendon to move ahead, 13-9. Penn State widened its advantage to six, 18-12, before the Illini connected on a kill and an ace to cut the lead back to four, 18-14. Penn State responded with a 7-1 run to finish off the fourth set with a 25-15 win.
Penn State and Illinois fought point-for-point throughout the first half of the frame, until an Illini serving error gave PSU a one-point edge, 12-11. An Illinois net violation and a huge block from Grant and Courtney brought Penn State ahead by three, 14-11. From there, the Illini couldn't get back on top as Scott pounded a kill to seal the 15-12 win in the set and the match.
Next up, Penn State travels to Northwestern to take on the Wildcats in a Sunday matinee, slated for 2 p.m. ET, Oct. 20th.