No. 9 Nittany Lions Sweep No. 23 Ohio State
Oct. 19, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The ninth-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team (14-5, 7-2 Big Ten) earned a 3-0 (28-26, 25-18, 25-15) victory against No. 23 Ohio State (14-8, 4-5 Big Ten) in a midweek matchup at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions used a balanced offense utilizing five different hitters to defeat the Buckeyes. Freshman Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) led the lions with nine kills in 11 errorless swings for a .818 attack percentage. Sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) also put down nine kills, while her classmate Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) was second on the team with eight. Sophomores Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) and Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.) each had seven kills. Freshman Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) paced the offense with 32 assists and was second on the team with six digs. Sophomore Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) led the Lions with nine digs, while Slay had a match-high eight total blocks.
The Nittany Lions hit .389 against the Buckeyes and totaled 45 kills, three aces, 29 digs and 10.0 team blocks. Ohio State finished the night hitting .225 with 37 kills, one ace, 31 digs and 5.5 team blocks.
The Nittany Lions trailed for much of the first set until a 7-1 run pushed Penn State into the lead by two, 18-16. Ohio State called a timeout, but the Lions continued to hold a slim lead. Kills from Grant and Martin had Penn State leading 23-21 when the Buckeyes called a second timeout. Slay put Penn State at set point, 24-22, but a kill from OSU's Mari Hole and a PSU error had the score tied at 24 all. Penn State called a timeout and a PSU service error put the Lions back in front, 25-24. However, the squads traded points until another OSU service error and a Buckeye hitting error secured set one for PSU, 28-26.
Penn State fell behind early in set two before a 5-0 had Penn State ahead by two, 6-4. Emily Danks cut off the run with a kill, but a Grant kill, a joint stuff by Scott and Slay and an OSU error had the Lions leading 9-6. Kelli Barhorst put down a kill for the Buckeyes before a 3-0 Lion run moved Penn State ahead by five, 13-8. After an Ohio State timeout, the Nittany Lions continued to maintain the lead and were up 20-15 when the Buckeyes headed to the bench a second time. Two kills from Hancock and one from Martin kept Penn State firmly in control as the set began to come to a close. With a 23-18 lead, Hancock and Slay teamed up for a block to move into set point position. McClendon tallied a kill to close it out for PSU, 25-18.
The Lions leapt out to a 5-0 lead to force an early timeout in the third set. The Buckeyes cut the Penn State lead to two, 6-4, before a 5-1 Lion run had PSU up by six, 11-5. Despite two service errors, Penn State's lead continued to grow with two kills from Grant and two Ohio State errors for a 15-8 advantage. Two kills by Scott, one each from Slay and McClendon and a Longo ace had Penn State five points from winning the match, 20-12. Ohio State called a timeout, but it failed to faze the Nittany Lions. Penn State allowed Ohio State three final points before Hancock notched a kill to win the set, 25-15.
Penn State is back in action on Saturday, Oct. 22 against No. 21 Michigan. Action is set for 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.
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.