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Nov. 2, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The third-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team improved to 12-1 in the Big Ten with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21) win against No. 10 Minnesota (19-5, 10-3 Big Ten) Friday evening. Sophomore Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) was outstanding at the service line with seven aces to tie her career high.
Junior Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) posted a match-high 20 kills, while junior Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) tallied 11. Hancock paced the offense with 46 assists and was third on the team with 15 digs. Sophomore Dominique Gonzalez (San Antonio, Texas) had a match-best 20 digs and junior Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) recorded 17. McClendon led the Nittany Lions in blocks with three.
The Nittany Lions registered a .204 hitting percentage and totaled 58 kills, 11 aces, 72 digs and 9.0 total team blocks. The Gophers hit .207 with 42 kills, five aces, 49 digs and 16.0 team blocks.
Despite falling behind 3-0 to start, the Nittany Lions used a 6-0 run to take a 6-3 lead in set one. Minnesota was forced to use an early timeout. The Gophers fought to within one, 7-6, but two Penn State kills and a Gopher error had the Lions ahead by four, 10-6. The Nittany Lion lead increased to five, 14-9 before a 3-0 Gopher run had Minnesota down by only two, 14-12. The teams traded points until a Slay kill and back-to-back Minnesota errors had the Lions with a 21-17 advantage. Following a Minnesota timeout UM tallied four points to Penn State's two to close the gap to two, 23-21. Penn State called a timeout, and thanks to a Minnesota service error and a Scott kill the Lions claimed set one, 25-21.
The Nittany Lions again trailed early in the second frame before putdowns by Slay and Scott moved Penn State into the lead, 5-4. However, Penn State was unable to develop any momentum and the score was soon tied at 9-9. The Nittany Lions responded with two kills and an ace from Hancock to move ahead by three, 12-9. Minnesota called a timeout, but Penn State's lead increased to five, 17-12, with the help of three kills by Scott. The Gophers headed back to the bench, but Penn State's lead grew to eight, 20-12, before Ashley Wittman sparked a 6-3 run to bring the Gophers within five, 23-18. The Nittany Lions used a timeout to stall the Gophers, and Scott managed to pound two kills to give PSU a 25-19 set two win.
Minnesota grabbed control to start the third frame. Penn State fought back and managed to take a slim 13-12 lead, but two straight PSU errors moved Minnesota back on top, 14-13. The Nittany Lions were able to knot the score at 16-16 after two UM errors. A kill from freshman Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) and an ace from junior Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.) put Penn State in the lead for the second time at 18-17. Penn State's lead was short lived as the Gophers used a 4-0 run for a 21-18 lead. Penn State tied the score one final time at 21-21 after an ace from freshman Lara Caraway (Evans City, Pa.) and a McClendon kill. It proved too little, too late as two Minnesota kills and a Gopher block had UM at set point, 24-22. After a Gopher service error, Katherine Harms put down a kill to give Minnesota a 25-23 victory.
It was another slow start in the fourth stanza for Penn State, but a 6-2 run had the Lions taking a slim 7-5 lead. The Gophers kept it close but Penn State started to break away after a kill from sophomore Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and a joint block by Grant and McClendon. Minnesota used a timeout, but it didn't faze the Lions as they increased the gap to five, 17-12, with two kills by Slay and a double block from Hancock and Slay. Minnesota used its second timeout and slowly fought to within one, 22-21, with an 8-5 run. After a timeout to regroup, three straight Courtney kills secured set four for the Nittany Lions, 25-21.
Penn State hosts Wisconsin on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. The match will air live on ESPN2. Fans are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to the Central Pennsylvania food bank. The match has also been declared a White Out and all fans are encouraged to wear white.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com.' The Penn State women's volleyball 2012 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.
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