Third-ranked Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Wisconsin

Story posted November 4, 2012 in CommRadio, Sports by Tim Behan

The Penn State women’s volleyball team (23-2, 13-1 Big Ten) defeated the Wisconsin Badgers (16-11, 4-10 Big Ten) by a score of 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-22) on Sunday afternoon at Rec Hall.

The Nittany Lions were coming off a tough match against another Big Ten rival in the tenth-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday night at home.  Facing a weaker team in the Badgers, there was no let down for Penn State as they swept Wisconsin, even when not playing at their best.  There were points throughout when Wisconsin battled back into the game, but the Nittany Lions bounced back and finished off the Badgers in three straight sets.

The Lions were not at the top of their game, allowing Wisconsin to stay alive at many times throughout the match.  But doing what great teams do, they found a way to fight through and get the victory.  Coach Russ Rose was not a happy camper after this win, saying his team didn’t play hard enough.

“I’m not sure I saw anything I was pleased with,” he claimed, “I didn’t think it was a very crisp performance on our side of the net. I’m not too happy with what I saw today.”

Penn State got off to a quick start, jumping to a 6-1 lead forcing Wisconsin to use a timeout.  The Badgers fought back within three, using their final timeout, but a Nittany Lion run extended their lead to nine, their largest of the set.  Wisconsin roared  back to within 4, 24-20 forcing Penn State to slow things down and call a timeout in order to win the set, 25-20.

The Nittany Lions led the entire set, controlling from the start thanks to junior Ariel Scott’s five kills and sophomore Micha Hancock’s twelve assists.  Penn State had 3.5 team blocks, while Wisconsin had six errors in the first set.

In the second set, Wisconsin jumped out to an early lead that sparked the Nittany Lions to go on an 8-2 run giving them a 10-7 lead.  A kill and ace consecutively by Hancock gave the Lions a 13-9 lead, leading the Badgers to call a time out.  Penn State continued to lead and never looked back, taking the second set 25-15. Junior Katie Slay shined in this set jumpstarting her team with key kills at key times for a total of 5.  Along with Slay, Scott had 10 kills while Courtney had 7.  Hancock registered 26 assists in a convincing win by the girls in blue and white.

The third set, which would end up being the final one, was a much more back and forth battle than the first two.  Wisconsin was never able to grab a lead in this set, only tying the score twice.  Penn State led by five, 10-5 when the Badgers took their first timeout.  This timeout helped the Badgers climb back into this one and make it close, but the Nittany Lions’ depth came to the floor with many girls contributing.  As the Badgers came within two points at 12-10, Megan Courtney’s two kills extended the Lions lead to six, forcing Wisconsin to use their final timeout.  
As the set went on the Lions lead was consistent at four point until the Badgers fought back to tie the score at 21.  Nia Grant and Ariel Scott’s kills finished off the Badgers and drove the Nittany Lions to a 25-22 win, completing the sweep of 3-0.  Scott had 14 kills in the final set, while McClendon and Courtney had 9 each.

The Penn State Nittany Lions continue their four-game home stand against Illinois Thursday at 8 p.m., a game where Coach Rose says they must be better to win.  With Nebraska losing twice this week, the Nittany Lions control their own destiny for the Big Ten title and Thursday will be an important one in their quest for a title. ComRadio will have coverage starting at 8 p.m.

Tim Behan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism, to contact him e-mail