No. 1 Penn State Holds off the Bulls
Sept. 4, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Nittany Lions made their 2009 debut in Rec Hall on Friday, Sept. 4 against Buffalo (2-2) with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-6, 25-7) victory. The Nittany Lions (4-0) are now 3-0 against the Bulls in the all-time series and have extended their NCAA winning streak to 68 consecutive matches.
Senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led all players with 10 kills on .667 hitting. She was tied with senior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) for first on the team with six digs. Junior Blair Brown was second on the team with six kills (.750%) and junior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) tallied five kills on five errorless swings. Junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) led the team with seven blocks and junior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) had a career-high five aces.
Penn State outblocked the Bulls 12.5-0.0, outdug Buffalo 24-12 and tallied 34 kills to UB's 16. Penn State attacked at a .702 clip, while holding the Bulls to -.116.
The Nittany Lions wasted no time in the first set, taking a 4-0 lead. Balza put the Lions on the board with a kill and freshman Kristen Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) followed with an ace in her first appearance in Rec Hall. Buffalo's Kayla Govier notched a kill to put the Bulls on the board, but three Buffalo errors and an ace from D'Errico gave the Nittany Lions an 8-1 lead forcing a Buffalo timeout. Despite a Penn State service error, kills from Wilson, Brown and Glass and a Buffalo attack error had PSU ahead by 10, 12-2. Buffalo's Abby Niekamp fired back with a kill, but Hodge kept the Nittany Lions ahead by 10 with a monster kill of her own. Three more Buffalo errors had the Bulls taking a second timeout. Following the timeout, Brown recorded a kill and Carpenter served four straight points to give Penn State a 12-point advantage, 20-8. After a Penn State kill and a D'Errico ace, the Bulls were aided by a Nittany Lion service error. However, three straight kills, two from Wilson and one from Hodge, gave Penn Stat a 25-9 first set win.
The second set was similar to the first. The Bulls were plagued by errors as Penn State jumped out to a 7-2 lead. D'Errico added another ace and Buffalo took a timeout in hopes of slowing the Nittany Lions' momentum. The timeout failed to slow PSU as Hodge notched another kill and D'Errico registered two aces to make give Penn State an 11-2 lead. The Bulls finally notched another point after a kill from Dani Silvers, but immediately put the ball back in Penn State hands with a serving error. A kill from Wilson and two Buffalo attack errors has the Bulls resorting to another timeout. Following the timeout, the UB's Maria Hornbaker tallied a kill to make it a 17-5 set but back-to-back Penn State kills by Glass and freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) kept the Bulls from making any strides. Kills from sophomore Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.), Brown and Dorton, plus two aces from Glass gave Penn State a 25-6 set two victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Bulls were unable to turn the match in their favor in the third set. After UB started off the set with four errors and only one kill, the Nittany Lions had a 4-1 lead. Hodge added two kills and the Bulls registered another error to increase that advantage to 7-1. After a UB timeout, Hornbaker and Kelsey Leuders each had a kill, but Hodge had two kills and Glass had one to move Penn State ahead by seven, 10-3. The Nittany Lions didn't slow down with Balza adding two more kills and combining with Dorton for a block to keep the Penn State in firm control and leading, 18-5. Two Buffalo attack errors, two consecutive Balza kills and a triple block by Kabbes, Balza and Brown put Penn State in position to win the match. UB grabbed one more point off a PSU attack error, but Kabbes won the set with a kill for a final score of 25-7.
The Nittany Lions continue play tomorrow at 10 a.m. against Robert Morris in Rec Hall. Penn State closes out the Nittany Lion Invitational at 7 p.m. against Pittsburgh. In between, Pittsburgh takes on Buffalo at 1 p.m. and then Buffalo faces Robert Morris at 4 p.m. Penn State's matches will be streamed live via audio and video on the web and all matches will have live stats on GoPSUsports.com.