No. 1 Women's Volleyball Unfazed by No. 15 Illinois
Sept. 26, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team overpowered No. 15 Illinois Saturday night for a 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-17) victory. The Nittany Lions have extended their Big Ten winning streak to 47 matches, just two matches short of their record 49 from 1997-1999.
The Nitttany Lions (14-0, 2-0 Big Ten) were led by freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) with 14 kills, while junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) posted 13 kills on a team-best .750 hitting. Four players registered double-digit digs, including senior Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) and junior Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) with 11 apiece and senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and junior Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) with 10 each. Hodge was the third Nittany Lion with double-digit kills, finishing the night with 12.
The Nittany Lions recorded 48 kills, 45 digs and 7.0 team blocks, while Illinois (9-2, 1-1 Big Ten) had 30 kills, 29 digs and just 3.0 team blocks.
Brown put the Nittany Lions on the board after a serve from Quilico got the match started. The Illini answered right back with a kill from Laura DeBruler. Penn State then grabbed a 6-1 lead capitalizing on two Illinois errors and posting three kills, including two from Hodge. After an Illinois timeout, Brown and Wilson combined for a block and Brown tallied another kill to increase PSU's lead to seven, 8-1. The Illini managed to fight back to within five, 10-5, but the Nittany Lions rallied back for a 13-6 advantage with two kills by Dorton and two Illinois attack errors. Despite a PSU error and a block by Illinois' DeBruler and Johannah Bangert, Penn State kept the pressure on and was soon ahead by double-digits, 19-9. Two Illini errors and a monster block by Wilson and Hodge aided the Nittany Lions. After a second Illinois timeout, Wilson tallied a solo block and Brown had another kill to move Penn State ahead by 13, 22-9. The Nittany Lions would allow just two additional points by Illinois before closing out the first set, 25-11.
The Nittany Lions took a 4-0 lead to start the second set with kills from Dorton, Hodge and Brown and an ace from Quilico. The Illini finally registered a point on a PSU error, but Illinois's DeBruler made a service error to return the ball to Penn State. Hodge and Wilson would each add one more kill before the Illini headed to the bench for a timeout. Following the timeout, Brown was up to serve and skimmed the ball over the net for an ace to bring the score to 9-2. Soon after, back-to-back kills by Dorton moved Penn State ahead, 13-4. Illinois' Erin Johnson spiked the ball for a kill and DeBruler and Bangert had a block, but Dorton posted another kill and Glass recorded an ace to keep Penn State's sizeable lead, 15-6. The Illini managed to come within six, 19-13, and Penn State took its first timeout of the match. The Nittany Lions regrouped and won set two 25-17 with Brown capping it off with a kill.
Quilico opened the third set with an ace, but the Illini weren't far behind with two straight kills by Michelle Bartsch for a 2-1 edge. Hodge tied it up with a kill, but Bartsch fired again to give the lead back to Illinois. The Nittany Lions finally grabbed the lead after kills from Wilson and Hodge and an ace Brown, but Illinois wasn't giving up and tied the match 8-8 on another Bartsch kill. The Illini seemed to continue to gain momentum and took hold of the lead, 10-8, with a block by DeBruler and a Bartsch kill. The two teams continued to battle as Penn State tied it at 10-10, at 11-11 and again at 12-12. PSU finally took a two-point lead with a block by Wilson and Glass and a Hodge kill. The Nittany Lions maintained control for the remainder of the set to win 25-17.
The Nittany Lions are back in action on Oct. 2 at home in Rec Hall when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. In a ceremony prior to the match, the 2008 Big Ten Championship banner will be raised to the Rec Hall rafters. Penn State continues Big Ten play on Saturday, Oct. 3 against Wisconsin. The 2008 NCAA National Championship banner will be raised before the match. Both matches will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com. Livestats will be available via a link at GoPSUsports.com.