Resiliency Prevails as No. 14 Penn State Defeats No. 9 Minnesota

Story posted November 19, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions secured their first match win over a top-10 ranked opponent at Rec Hall on Friday night when they defeated the No. 9 Minnesota Golden Gophers three sets to one.

It was a highly-contested matchup, going back and forth throughout each and every set. The intensity was evident in every point, with potential Big Ten implications on the line.

“It’s a great win, great team win,” head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley said. “I loved the way our girls played hard and stayed focused.”

There were plenty of times where it seemed the blue and white had the potential to lose focus in the match, with eight service errors to go along with the Minnesota defense stuffing their attacks 13 total times.

Yet Penn State kept their cool, and sent back the Golden Gophers attack 12 times themselves, adding to the push-and-pull feel throughout the match.

Along with the two squads fighting blow-for-blow, there was a battle everyone had their eyes own: Kashauna Williams and Taylor Landfair.

Landfair came into this match leading the Big Ten in kills per set, averaging 4.44 in each set. She would have a relatively quiet start in the first set, only securing two kills while Penn State won the first set 25-18.

Depsite the second set having the same outcome, Landfair started to find her groove, ending with five kills in the set.

She would go on to finish the match with 17 kills, yet the talk in Rec Hall was all about Kashauna Williams.

Williams was cash money in all four sets, finishing with 20 kills on the night and securing her 1,500th career collegiate kill.

“I thought they stopped recording it at 1,000 kills,” Williams said. “I just keep going and don’t really think of the numbers, but it’s a pretty cool accomplishment.”

Williams capped off the night with a backflip celebration, with nearly took the roof off the already raucous “Wear White” crowd.

“We all feed off of each other and celebrate with each other,” Williams said. “It makes us better as a team.”

The second half of the contest was all about runs, especially when Minnesota went on a 12-5 run to secure the third set, 25-20, and in the last set when they clawed their way back to force extra points.

But the Nittany Lions never backed down from the challenge, and found a way to win the fourth and final set 27-25.

“I thought that we showed resilience throughout the whole game,” Maddy Bilinovic said. “I’m proud of us for working our butts off.”

Penn State moves to 22-6 on the season and 11-6 in Big Ten, while Minnesota falls to 17-8 overall and 12-5 in Big Ten.

The Nittany Lions will have their annual “Silent Set” night on Saturday when they take on the No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers while Minnesota will travel to New Jersey to take on Rutgers.

Joshua Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email