Women’s Volleyball Defeats Portland in Opener of Penn State Classic

Story posted September 22, 2012 in CommRadio, Sports by Zach Hottinger

The Penn State women's volleyball team opened the Penn State Classic with a 3-0 win Friday night at Rec Hall over the Portland Pistols.

Junior outside hitter Deja McClendon led the team with 15 kills, while sophomore setter Micha Hancock was all over the court, finishing the match with 37 assists.

Penn State head coach Russ Rose credited Portland as being a good team that simply did not have their best game.

"Sometimes teams are their own worst enemy," he said. "Portland just didn't play well tonight.

Penn State dominated the first set, winning 25-9. McClendon opened up the match with a kill to get the crowd at Rec Hall excited early. Junior middle hitter Katie Slay had several impressive blocks in the set, and junior Ariel Scott added four kills. Nia Grant finished the set with a kill and a relatively easy 1-0 lead.

Portland played better in the second set, combining as a team for nine kills, three times as many as they had in the first. But the Nittany Lions would put together 17 kills in the set, on ten assists from Micha Hancock. Penn State would win the set 25-13 on a combined block from McClendon and Grant.

The final set started with a bang as McClendon came out of the gate with back-to-back kills, two of seven should would have in the set. The Pistols nearly tied the set up halfway through, but a block from Hancock and Slay would kill the momentum. A service ace by Dominique Gonzalez paved the way for Penn State to bury Portland, and with a 25-12 third set win, the Nittany Lions wrapped up the sweep.

Rose was pleased with the victory, but saw room for improvement: serving.

"I thought the serving was terrible," Rose said. "I'm happy we found a way to be successful despite our flaws, but if we serve in the Big Ten like that, yowza."

Senior setter Kristin Carpenter agreed with Rose, but was optimistic about the future.

"We're going to serve better," she said. "We have to and we will."

Carpenter said that the team would prepare for today's doubleheader against Duquesne and Eastern Illinois by focusing on the serves.

"We're going to serve tomorrow," said Carpenter. "That's the gameplan and it's going to happen."

The women's volleyball team is now 8-1 and faces Duquesne and Eastern Illinois tomorrow at Rec Hall.

Zach Hottinger is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email zsh5015@psu.edu.