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Nov. 10, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Using a balanced offense, the No. 2 Penn State women's volleyball team (25-2, 15-1 Big Ten) earned a 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-16) sweep of Northwestern (15-12, 4-12 Big Ten) Saturday night at Rec Hall.
Sophomore Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and junior Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) led Penn State with eight kills apiece. Junior Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) posted seven and both freshman Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) and junior Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) posted six. Sophomore Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) dished out 31 assists and was second on the team in digs with nine. Sophomore Dominique Gonzalez (San Antonio, Texas) had a match-high 13 digs, while Courtney had five blocks, including three solo, as well as Scott.
Penn State registered a .320 hitting percentage and held the Wildcats to .055. The Nittany Lions totaled 42 kills, four aces, 52 digs and 11.5 total team blocks. Northwester finished the match with 28 kills, 44 digs and 3.0 team blocks.
Despite falling behind, 4-1, to start the match, a 9-1 run sparked by a Scott kill had the Lions with a 10-5 advantage. Northwestern called a timeout and narrowed the gap to two, 10-8. The Wildcats kept it close briefly until a 4-1 Penn State run, including two Grant kills, had the Lions leading 17-10. Northwestern used another timeout, but Penn State maintained control. The Nittany Lions held on to at least a seven-point lead for the remainder of the match. Junior Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.) closed out set one for Penn State with a kill for a 25-16 win.
After a close start, the Nittany Lions used a 3-1 run for a 10-6 lead in the second set. Northwestern used an early timeout, but Penn State began to build momentum. Four different Nittany Lions put down kills to help Penn State to a seven-point lead, 16-9. Northwestern again used a timeout, but was unable to stall the Lions. Two kills by Slay and one from Hancock had the Lions with an eight-point advantage, 20-12. Two consecutive Northwestern attack errors and a Grant kill moved Penn State within two of taking the set, 23-13. However, a 3-0 run held the Nittany Lions briefly as the Wildcats came within seven, 23-16. Penn State called a timeout and Grant followed the break with a kill and a block for a 25-16 victory.
Hancock opened the third stanza with an ace, but two Wildcat kills sandwiching one from Grant had the score knotted at 2-2 early. Courtney pounded a kill to spark a 9-2 run, which gave Penn State an 11-4 lead. Northwestern did not give up and managed to close the gap to four, 15-11. The Wildcats were unable to come any closer as kills from Slay and McClendon kept Penn State with at least a four-point edge. With Penn State leading, 19-14, Northwestern used another timeout. Unfazed, Penn State allowed the Wildcats only two additional points before a 4-0 Nittany Lion run secured set three for Penn State, 25-16.
Penn State heads back out on the road on Nov. 16-17. The Nittany Lions visit Indiana on Friday and Purdue on Saturday. PSU returns home on Nov. 21 to host Ohio State and close out the regular season against Michigan State on Nov. 24.
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.
The Penn State women's volleyball team is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us @PennStateVBALL and at www.facebook.com/pennstatewomensvolleyball.