No. 1 Penn State Sends Alabama Rolling with 3-0 Sweep
Aug. 29, 2009
SAINT LOUIS, Mo. - The top-ranked women's volleyball team rolled past Alabama Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 sweep of the Crimson Tide. The Nittany Lions (2-0) have now won 66 consecutive matches.
Senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and junior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) paced Penn State with 13 kills apiece. Brown tallied only one error on 18 swings for a .667 attack percentage. Freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) finished third on the team with seven kills. Senior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) totaled 36 assists, while Hodge led Penn State with 11 digs. Junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.), who posted six kills, led the team with four total blocks.
The Nittany Lions took an early 7-2 lead against the Crimson Tide in the first set. Three kills from Hodge, a block by Brown and Wilson and an ace from junior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) set the tone early. Alabama followed a timeout with a kill, but Penn State's Brown answered right back to keep PSU ahead by five. Kills from freshman Dorton and Wilson moved the Nittany Lions ahead by six, 10-4, but an Alabama kill and a Penn State error had the Crimson Tide within four moments later. Midway through the frame, several Alabama errors surged the Nittany Lions ahead. It wasn't until PSU was ahead by nine, 19-10, that Alabama managed another point. A block from Brown and junior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela), three Penn State kills and an Alabama error had Penn State ready to close out the first set at 24-13. Dorton and Wilson combined for a block to give the Nittany Lions a 25-13 set one win. Hodge proved dominant early leading all players with six kills on 11 errorless swings.
Penn State wasted no time getting ahead in the second set. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 7-1 lead off of three kills by Brown, one by Hodge and two Alabama errors. Despite a PSU serving error and two kills from Alabama's Alyssa Meuth, Penn State maintained its momentum and found itself ahead by nine, 13-4, following a Balza kill and a Crimson Tide attack error. Alabama responded with a kill from Kayla Fitterer, but it failed to spark any momentum change in favor of the Crimson Tide. Kills from Brown and Balza, in addition to errors by Alabama, gave the Nittany Lions their largest lead of the afternoon, 18-7. Alabama's Elizabeth Salstrand fired back with a kill, but two Penn State blocks and one kill each from Brown, Wilson and Hodge had the Nittany Lions ahead by 15, 23-8. Two late kills from Alabama's Brooks Webster proved too little too late as Wilson closed out the set with a monster swing for a 25-10 win.
Dorton put Penn State on the board first in the third with a kill. From there, the Nittany Lions took a 4-1 lead, but Penn State errors kept Alabama close early. Ahead by three, 10-7, kills from sophomore Katie Kabbes, Dorton and two from Brown gave Penn State a five-point advantage, 14-9. The Nittany Lions finall took firm control after a bad set by Alabama. Two kills each from Brown and Hodge with an ace from D'Errico mixed in put the Nittany Lions ahead by 10, 20-10 and forcing an Alabama timeout. Alabama's Jennifer Webster notched a kill after the break, but Hodge put Penn State's lead back in double-digits with a kill. Two PSU errors seemed to give the Crimson Tide some hope, but Dorton fired off three straight kills to bring the score to 24-13. Kabbes closed out the set with a kill for a 25-14 victory.
The Nittany Lions continue play in the Active Ankle Challenge at Chaifetz Arena tonight against No. 20 Saint Louis. Action is set for 7 p.m. Fans can access livestats online at www. GoPSUSports.com.