BLOG: Lions Dominate Hawkeyes in a 3-0 Sweep
Oct. 28, 2013
By Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Head coach Russ Rose noted that McClendon's passing was near perfect in the match against Iowa, receiving almost every one of Iowa's serves. She matched a season-high mark of four blocks against the Hawkeyes, as well. Rose said this accomplishment is a representation of how much McClendon has improved, especially on defense.
"I'm thrilled for Deja because I think she has given a lot of her game to make the team better," Rose said. "When she came in as a freshman, she was a pure hitter and wasn't asked to do much else. And now she's asked to be our best passer, blocker and defender."
"When [Hancock's] serve is on, it gives us the best chance for us to play at the highest level," Rose said. "That's for all of the players. You need to serve well to pressure the other team. If you don't serve well and they have the ability to side out on you, that's when we can get into trouble."
Rose made many substitutions throughout the match, giving the younger players a chance to show that their hard work in practice is paying off. He said that the players on the bench work very hard in practice and he wanted to give them an opportunity to get on the court in front of their family and friends.
The final point of the match was a kill from freshman middle blocker Kelly Robertson.
"[The final ball of the match] didn't go down the way I was hoping, but it did go down and I'm happy it did. I'm glad I had the opportunity to do it," Robertson said.
Staying prepared to go in the game throughout the entire match can be difficult for the players on the bench. Robertson said the best way to stay prepared to go in is to mentally stay in the game. Staying in the game mentally helped Robertson made the transition into the game.
In the first frame, the Lions had an 8-1 run and later had a 13-5 run. Ariel Scott tallied three kills out of three attempts, giving her a 1.000 hitting percentage. At the end of the set, after an Iowa service error, senior Maggie Harding served the set point. Senior Katie Slay fired a kill to close out the set at 25-8.
The second set was not much different for the Hawkeyes. Penn State had an 11-point run in the middle of the set at 15-4. Iowa tried to fight back, but could not catch the No. 2-ranked Nittany Lions. Slay ended the set again, this time with a solo block.
In the final frame, Penn State had an 11-4 lead after three kills from Scott. A kill from the Hawkeyes gave them the side-out, but the ball quickly returned to Penn State's side after another kill from Scott. Iowa had a 3-1 run, coming within six points of the Nittany Lions, but Penn State went on a 10-2 run to close out the match at 25-11.
"It was a great crowd, and we're really appreciative of the band and the student section," Rose said. "We only had seven mistakes in three games, so I think that's a good night for us as far as controlling the ball and doing the things that we need to do. I'm pleased with the effort tonight."
In addition to her 11 kills, Scott had one dig and three blocks. Senior Katie Slay led the defense with six blocks. Junior Nia Grant tallied six kills with a team-high .625 hitting percentage. She also had five blocks.
The Nittany Lions will head on the road this weekend to face Michigan and Michigan State for the second time this season.