Senior Duo Leads No. 2 Women's Volleyball to Victory at No. 14 MSU
Nov. 2, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Seniors Deja McClendon and Ariel Scott led the No. 2 Penn State women's volleyball team (20-2, 11-1) to a straight-set victory (25-14, 25-18, 25-20) at No. 14 Michigan State (18-6, 7-5) Saturday evening at Jenison Field House. The triumph extends the current winning streak to 11 consecutive matches and marks the 37th time in program history that the Nittany Lions have reached 20 wins in a season.
McClendon led the offense with 14 kills on .423 hitting, adding eight digs and one block. Scott followed closely behind with 13 kills, recording a .462 hitting clip, while also tallying six digs and four blocks. Defensively, Dominique Gonzalez led the team with 11 digs, while senior Katie Slay posted five blocks, including one solo stop.
Junior Micha Hancock paced four Nittany Lion attackers to .400 or better hitting, while guiding the squad to a .451 overall attacking percentage. Hancock dished out 35 assists, adding nine digs and one block.
Penn State leapt out to an 11-3 advantage to take control of an early lead in set one. The scoring streak featured two kills and three total blocks from Slay, including one solo stuff. The Nittany Lions continued to pull away, moving ahead by as many as eight, 17-8, before the Spartans attempted to spark some momentum with a 5-3 spurt. Capitalizing on three Michigan State errors, McClendon added a kill to round out a 4-0 streak that put Penn State at set point, 24-13.
MSU held off the set-point attempt with a kill, but followed with a service error to secure a 25-14 victory for the Nittany Lions in the opening frame. PSU hit .435 in the first stanza, without a single attacking error. McClendon led the way with four kills.
The Nittany Lions took advantage of another sizable lead in set two, as Slay, Scott and McClendon all helped PSU to a 7-2 lead with a trio of kills. Regrouping, the Spartans halted the attack with a kill and continued to pressure Penn State, moving within one, 13-12, midway through the set. The Lions answered with a 5-2 stretch, featuring back-to-back kills from Scott to rebuild the advantage to four, 18-14.
Michigan State kept it close with a 2-1 burst, 19-16, but Penn State followed with a 4-2 strike, capped off with a kill from Grant to make it 23-18. Scott locked up a 25-18 win in the second set with back-to-back kills to put PSU up 2-0 in the match.
Both teams battled closely for the lead early in the third set, until Scott connected on a kill and then paired up with Slay for a block to move the Lions ahead by two, 12-10. The Spartans managed to tie the set, 13-13, before Penn State used a 4-1 strike to maintain a three-point cushion, 17-14. The Nittany Lions raced to a match-point on a 7-4 run, before the Spartans tallied two quick points to arrive within four, 24-20. Scott smacked over a kill to seal a 25-20 win in the third set to complete the sweep.
Up next, Penn State returns home from the road to welcome Purdue and Indiana to the court at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions take on the Boilermakers Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. before facing the Hoosiers Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. Friday's match is THON Night, featuring free admission to children 12 and under who download and color one of the special Penn State coloring pages from the Nittany Lion Facebook page and bring it with them to the match.