No. 1 Penn State Sweeps the Spartans
Nov. 27, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team began its final weekend of regular season play with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-21) sweep of Michigan State Friday evening. The Nittany Lions improved to 31-0 overall with a 19-0 record in conference play.
Senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led all players with 19 kills on .419 hitting, while juniors Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) and Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) had 10 kills apiece with Wilson attacking at a team-best .625. Senior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) paced the offense with 40 assists and finished second on the team with seven digs. Junior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) was a wall at the net with seven total blocks and junior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) led the squad with nine saves.
Penn State attacked at a .358 clip, while holding the Spartans to .218. The Nittany Lions totaled 48 kills, 44 assists, 34 digs and 12.5 total team blocks. Michigan State (17-14, 5-14) compiled 42 kills, 42 assists, 46 digs and just 3.0 total team blocks.
The score would tie six times early in the first set before Penn State began to break away. Leading 10-8, a MSU service error and a monster kill by Hodge put the Nittany Lions up by four, 12-8, to send Michigan State to the bench for a timeout. Megan Schatzle and Becca Zlabis both notched kills following the break, but Hodge and Brown answered for Penn State to keep the Nittany Lions up by four, 14-10. Penn State's lead grew to six, 19-13, thanks to a kill from Hodge, a joint stuff by Wilson and Brown and two kills from freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.). The Spartans came within five on two occasions, but the Nittany Lions held off MSU for a 25-17 first set win.
A huge block by Wilson and Glass started the second set off with a bang for Penn State. Balza then teamed up with Glass, then Dorton and finally Brown for three blocks to help the Nittany Lions jump out to a 6-2 lead. After a Michigan State timeout, Balza once again joined forces with Dorton to move Penn State ahead by five, 7-2. Kyndra Abron finally cutoff the PSU run with a kill and the Spartans would manage to come within one, 7-6, before a service error would give Penn State a two-point edge, 8-6. Three straight Penn State errors allowed Michigan State to take its first lead of the set, 9-8. The two teams traded points, until back-to-back Penn State kills had the Nittany Lions back in the lead, albeit by only one point, 14-13. Following a second MSU timeout, Mischelle Nelson would tie the set at 14-14 but a kill from Brown and solo stuff by Wilson gave the Nittany Lions a 16-14 lead. Penn State maintained at least a two-point advantage for the remainder of the set and Brown and Hodge both tallied kills to give PSU a 25-20 set two victory.
The third and final set of the match started out much like the first with the score tying six times before the Nittany Lions began their breakaway. Trailing 8-7, sophomore Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.), Brown and Wilson all posted kills to push Penn State into the lead, 10-8. MSU's Abron posted a kill to put the Spartans within one, 10-9, but Wilson and Hodge put down two straight to keep Penn State in control, 12-9. Two PSU errors allowed the Spartans to tie the set at 12-12. However, by midpoint of the frame Penn State was ahead 15-14 and did not look back. Thanks to two MSU errors and a block by Kabbes, Balza and Brown, PSU led 17-14 when the Spartans called a timeout. Kabbes posted a kill after the break to keep Penn State in control, 18-14. Michigan State managed to come within three twice, but the Nittany Lions held on for a 25-21 third set triumph.
The Nittany Lions are back in action tomorrow night versus No. 12 Michigan. Action is set to begin at 7 p.m. Live stats and live audio will be available via a link at GoPSUsports.com. The Big Ten Network will tape the match and air it on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.
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.