Penn State Women’s Volleyball Opening Weekend Takeaways

Story posted August 30, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Will Duerksen

Penn State women’s volleyball began its second campaign under head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley at the Road 2 Tampa Bay Invitational, losing to two ranked teams in Florida and Georgia Tech.

While the team did not earn a victory in either contest, the two matches offered several positives for the Nittany Lions.

One good takeaway for Penn State was Taylor Trammell, as she shined in both contests.

The middle blocker finished in the top three of her team in kills, points per set and blocks per set in both matches.

Trammell’s versatility kept the Nittany Lions in two close sets against the Gators and she will continue to be a valuable player for Schumacher-Cawley in her senior season.

Another positive takeaway from the two losses was the performance of Jess Mruzik.

The All-Big Ten first-teamer at Michigan last year wasted no time in making an impact with her new team.

Mruzik scored 36.5 points and accumulated 31 kills in the two matches, both of which led the Nittany Lions. On defense, her 19 digs are good for second-most.

Mruzik’s steady performance will be needed once Penn State starts Big Ten play against Rutgers on September 20.

Finally, the Nittany Lions showcased their deep roster in both matches, with several other players stepping up.

Allie Holland’s 18 combined blocks led the team through both matches, while Gillian Grimes led the team with a combined 27 digs.

Sophomore Alexa Markley also impressed off the bench, recording eight kills and 9.5 points across both matches.

A negative takeaway for Penn State was that some players’ impressive performances did not translate to victories.

The team won a combined two out of eight sets throughout the two matches while dropping the last two sets in each match.

Against Florida, the blue and white took the opening set but lost two of their three sets by two. The next day, all three of Georgia Tech’s set victories came by a margin of four or more. 

With the Penn State Invitational quickly approaching, perhaps the Nittany Lions can shift the momentum in their favor with a strong performance.

Penn State’s first match of the weekend is against Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. Friday. Matches against Colgate at 2 p.m. Saturday and James Madison at 2 p.m. Sunday complete the slate.

However, all three teams have winning records and will be tough outs for a Penn State team looking for its first win.

Will Duerksen is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email