No. 1 Penn State Defeats Northwestern for 92nd Straight Win
Nov. 14, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team (28-0, 16-0) secured their 92nd straight victory Saturday evening with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-20) sweep of Northwestern (14-14, 5-11) in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 5,312 in Rec Hall. It was the fourth-largest crowd to attend a PSU women's volleyball match. The Nittany Lions are now tied for second in the NCAA record books for consecutive wins with the North Carolina women's soccer team (1990-94).
The Nittany Lions were led by senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), who posted a match-high 15 kills. Junior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) finished second on the squad with nine kills. Senior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) paced the Nittany Lion offense with 37 assists, while junior Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) made 10 saves. Sophomore Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) led the team at the net with five total blocks and also tallied four kills.
Penn State attacked at a .360 clip and held the Wildcats to a meager .083. The Nittany Lions totaled 42 kills, 40 assists, 28 digs and 11.0 total team blocks. Northwestern recorded 32 kills, 29 assists, 30 digs and 5.5 total team blocks.
The Nittany Lions wasted no time in the first set jumping out to a 5-0 lead before the Wildcats could get on the board. A block by Glass and junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.), a kill by Hodge and an NU error had Penn State ahead, 8-1. The Wildcats fought to within six, 11-5, but kills from Wilson, freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) and Brown gave Penn State a 14-6 advantage. After a Northwestern timeout, the Wildcats found some momentum and five kills combined with three PSU errors had NU within three, 17-14. Penn State cut off the Wildcats with a Hodge kill and a NU attack error sent the Wildcats to the bench a second time. The timeout slowed the Nittany Lions enough to allow Northwestern to come back to within three, 21-19. Penn State called a timeout to regroup and two Hodge kills, another from Dorton and a Northwestern error would secure the first set for PSU, 25-20.
Two Northwestern errors put Penn State up 2-0 to start off the second set. However, a kill from Alexandra Ayers and two PSU errors had the teams tied at 3-3. Northwestern took its first lead of the match, 4-3, after another error, but the Wildcats would commit an error of their own to allow Penn State to tie it at 4-4. Back-to-back Northwestern kills put the Wildcats up by two, 6-4, but two Kabbes kills and a Wildcat error had the Nittany Lions back in charge, 8-7. Penn State increased its lead to four, 12-8, when Northwestern called a timeout. The break did little to slow PSU as the squad only increased its lead to six, 17-11, when Northwestern took a second timeout. Kabbes notched a solo block following the timeout, but Sabel Moffett posted a kill to keep Northwestern within six. Penn State held Northwestern to just 14 points in the second set as errors by the Wildcats sent the Nittany Lions surging ahead to a set two win.
Northwestern's Brittany Gray posted the first point of the third and final set of the match, but she followed it with an error to put the Nittany Lions on the board. Errors would plague the Wildcats early giving Penn State a 7-3 lead. The teams traded kills until a huge block by Wilson and Dorton forced Northwestern to take a timeout. Trailing by six, 11-5, the Wildcats followed the short break with two straight kills to come within four, 11-7. Dorton slowed NU with a kill, but by midway through the frame, Northwestern was within three, 14-11. Two consecutive Penn State kills and a block by Kabbes and Brown gave the Nittany Lions some breathing room, 17-11, and had Northwestern calling its second timeout. A block by Hodge and Brown and a Hodge kill moved the Nittany Lions ahead by eight, 19-11. Despite it seeming like Penn State had firm control, Northwestern rallied and were soon within three, 23-20. Penn State called a timeout and kills from Glass and Dorton gave Penn State a 25-20 third set triumph.
Penn State is back in action at Purdue on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. The Nittany Lions then travel to Indiana on Saturday, Nov. 21 for a 7 p.m. meeting with the Hoosiers. PSU returns home to close out the regular season the weekend of Nov. 27 with matches against Michigan State and Michigan.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2009 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.