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Junior Arielle Wilson
Sept. 5, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team concluded the Nittany Lion Invitational and its first home weekend with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-18) victory against Pittsburgh (5-2). Penn State (6-0) is now 29-17 all-time against the Panthers.
Senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led the Nittany Lions with 14 kills on .429 hitting. Also in double-digits were freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) with 11 kills and junior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) with 10. Senior Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) paced the Nittany Lion offense with 40 assists, while Hodge and Brown led the team in digs with seven apiece. In blocking, Penn State was led by junior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) with five and junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) with four.
Penn State attacked at a .404 clip, while holding the Panthers to .194. The Nittany Lions totaled 45 kills to Pitt's 37, 33 digs to their 29 and outblocked the Panthers 9.0 to 4.0.
Glass was named the Nittany Lion Invitational MVP. It is her second honor of the season after being named the Active Ankle Challenge MVP at Saint Louis. Joining Glass on the all-tournament team are Brown and Wilson, Pittsburgh's Amy Town and Meagan Dooley, Buffalo's Lindsey Schlegel and Robert Morris' Hannah Veith.
Pittsburgh came out and set the tone early with three straight kills for a 5-2 lead. Kills from Hodge and Brown brought the Nittany Lions within one, 5-4. After a kill from Pitt's Melissa Stadelman, Wilson and Dorton each notched a kill to tie the set, 7-7. The score would tie five more times before back-to-back kills from Hodge gave Penn State a 15-13 lead and forced the Panthers to take a timeout. After a PSU service error, a kill from Stadelman would tie the set, 15-15, but Hodge fired back to give the Nittany Lions a slim 16-15 edge. Soon after, Pitt's Town answered with a kill of her own to tie it up again, 16-16. The score would tie one final time at 18-18 before Penn State found some momentum to put the set away. Two consecutive kills from Dorton and one from Brown put the Nittany Lions ahead by three, 21-18. After a Pittsburgh timeout, a kill from Brown, a block by Hodge and Balza and an ace from freshman Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) put Penn State in match point position. A Pitt attack error secured the first set for Penn State, 25-20.
Penn State wasted no time in the second set taking a 10-4 lead. After going up 7-3, two kills from Dorton, one from Wilson and a Pitt service error had the Nittany Lions ahead by six. Pitt fought back to within four courtesy of a kill and a PSU error, but Penn State maintained control and had a 16-10 advantage when Pitt took a timeout. The timeout proved fruitless as the Panthers posted three straight errors to increase Penn State's advantage to nine, 19-10, and force the Panthers to take another break. Town responded with a kill, but Wilson provided a monster block on the next play to move Penn State closer to a second set win. The Panthers came back within seven, 21-14, but a kill from Dorton, two from Hodge and an ace from Brown put Penn State up 2-0 in the match.
The two squads stayed close early in the third set, but Penn State seemed to find its stride after a kill from Glass, which put the Nittany Lions ahead 8-5. Penn State moved ahead by five after a Hodge kill and a Town error, but Town recovered and posted a kill moments later to bring the Panthers back within four, 10-6. However, a Balza kill, two Panther errors and an ace from junior Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) gave PSU a 14-7 lead and sent Pittsburgh to the bench for a timeout. Another Panther error and a kill from Hodge increased Penn State's lead to nine, 16-7, but the Panthers registered a kill and snagged a point on a Penn State error to close the gap to seven. Penn State maintained its distance for the next few minutes and the Panthers took a second timeout following a Dorton kill and Balza/Glass block. Pittsburgh managed to come back within six, 24-18, with kills from Lauren Hartman and an ace from libero Michelle Rossi, but Brown would secure Penn State's 25-18 third set win with a kill.
The Nittany Lions head south to Durham, N.C. on Sept. 11-12 for the Duke Invitational. Penn State faces Loyola (Md.) on Sept. 11 at 5 p.m., the College of Charleston at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 and concludes the tournament against host Duke at 7 p.m. All matches will be in Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Nittany Lions face Temple on the road on Sept. 18 before returning to Rec Hall on Sept. 19 to take on Saint Francis (Pa.) at 10:30 a.m.
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