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Oct. 22, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The ninth-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team (15-5, 8-2) completed the first half of the Big Ten season with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-23) victory against No. 21 Michigan at home in Rec Hall. Tonight's match versus the Wolverines (15-7, 3-7) will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.
Sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) led the team with 11 kills, while sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) finished the match with 10. Sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) posted nine kills on a match-high .562 hitting percentage. Freshman Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) dished out 33 assists and had three aces. Sophomore Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) had a team-best 12 digs, while freshman Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and Slay put up three blocks apiece.
Penn State hit .330 against Michigan and totaled 45 kills, six aces, 42 digs and 6.0 total team blocks. The Wolverines hit .237 against the Lions and had 42 kills, three aces, 41 digs and 6.0 team blocks.
The first set was close from the start before two straight Michigan kills gave the Wolverines an 8-6 advantage. However, the Nittany Lions took off on a 9-2 run to take a convincing 15-11 lead. The Lions maintained the lead until a 3-0 run by UM had the score knotted at 18-18. A block by Scott and Slay followed by a PSU kill put Penn State back in the lead by two, 20-18. Michigan managed to tie it up again at 21-21 and Penn State called a timeout. Lexi Erwin put the Wolverines on top with a kill, but Scott pounded a kill to tie the set at 22-22. Two straight Michigan errors put Penn State at set point, 24-22, before a Longo ace gave Penn State a 25-22 win.
Penn State grabbed a 4-1 lead to start the second stanza. It was a lead the Lions would not relinquish for the entirety of the set. The Wolverines fought to within one, 8-7, but a 6-1 Penn State run had Michigan taking a timeout with the score at 14-8. Michigan came within three, 18-15, but a Wolverine attack error and a McClendon kill had Penn State comfortably ahead by five, 20-15. Michigan used its second timeout and closed the game to three, 23-20, forcing Penn State to call its own timeout. The Wolverines tallied a block before a service error had Penn State leading 24-21. McClendon notched an ace to secure a 25-21 second set victory.
Michigan took the early lead in the third frame, but Penn State answered to tie it up at 4-4. The score tied four more times before a 4-0 Michigan run had the Wolverines leading, 12-8. Penn State called a timeout, but continued to trail the Wolverines for much of the remainder of the set. It wasn't until McClendon sparked a 4-1 run with a kill that the Lions had another shot at taking control. With the score tied at 19 all, Michigan called a timeout, but Penn State continued to hang in there. The score tied four times, with Michigan regaining the lead three times, before Slay put down a kill to move Penn State ahead by one, 24-23. Michigan called a timeout, but Scott closed out the set with a kill for a 25-23 third set win.
Penn State remains at home on Oct. 28-29 to host Iowa and nationally-ranked Nebraska. The match versus the Hawkeyes is set for Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. with Penn State taking on Nebraska at 8 p.m. on Oct. 29.
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.