Penn State Women’s Volleyball Upsets Ohio State in Conference Home Opener

Story posted September 27, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

The Penn State Nittany Lions women’s volleyball team opened their home portion of Big Ten play with a sweep over the Ohio State Buckeyes in three straight sets.

The Nittany Lions took the first set 25-19 after gaining the lead in the middle portion of the set. After that, the blue and white went back and forth with the Buckeyes to clinch the second set 27-25, followed by the match-clinching set with a 25-21 win.

Penn State finished the day with 49 kills hitting .380, compared to the Buckeyes’ 44 kills hitting just .269. Ohio State even led in the attacks category 104-100.

Head coach Russ Rose was content with the team’s performance today. “I thought we played well,” Rose said. “I thought we were calm, got quick ball handling, and first contacts.”

Even with the sets going down to the wire, Rose acknowledged who was on the other side of the court but stuck to their game plan.

“Ohio State was third in the country when they started this week,” Rose said. “The conference has great talent, support and coaching all across the board, and we do things where we recognize that it doesn’t make a difference who’s on the other side.”

Leading the charge offensively for Penn State was graduate transfer Adanna Rollins, who ended the match with 14 kills and an impressive .524 hit percentage, followed by senior outside hitter Jonni Parker with 12 kills on a .379 hit percentage.

On the defensive side, middle blockers Allie Holland and Kaitlyn Hord were major contributors to the blocks category, combining for nine blocks on the day.

The fans played a big role in the match today in the eyes of the players and Rose. “The student section is always helpful for us,” Rose said.

Parker added how the crowd gave them a seventh player on the floor. “No matter what, playing at home is always going to give you that advantage,” Parker said.

However, a major problem for Penn State was the Buckeyes’ ability to get points off a quick attack set up by Mac Podraza, especially from opposite hitter Emily Londot. Rose complimented the Buckeyes’ offensive players on their game plan.

“[Podraza and Londot] are terrific offensive players, and that’s a big part of their offense,” Rose said. “People do what they do well, and you hope when it comes down to critical moments, you can try and impact what they’re doing.”

Penn State improves to 2-0 in conference play after defeating Rutgers in straight sets on Sept. 24. Parker said their conference success as of late is all part of the competitiveness the Big Ten brings to the table constantly.

“The Big Ten is the most competitive conference,” Parker said. “No matter what, every game has value.”

Senior setter Gabby Blossom believes fine-tuning the minor details will help for the upcoming match after their celebration.

“This is a great way to go celebrate now, but then tomorrow we focus on Maryland,” Blossom said. “Winning is always nice, but then you move on pretty quick. There’s a couple of things to work on, but we’re happy right now.”

The Nittany Lions travel to College Park on Sept. 29 to take on the Maryland Terrapins, the former school of current outside hitter Erika Pritchard.

Jonathan Draeger is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.