Women’s Volleyball Outlasts Rutgers in Straight Sets

Story posted October 18, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Tom Shively

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Nia Reed paced Penn State with 11 kills and Jonni Parker added 10
as the No. 4 Nittany Lions (16-3, 7-2) bested Rutgers (6-16, 0-9) 25-14, 25-18, 26-24 in straight
sets on Wednesday at Rec Hall.

The Nittany Lions, fresh off a victory over top-five Nebraska last weekend, came out a little
rusty especially in the third set. However, they held on to beat the Scarlet Knights, who have combined to
win a total of three sets in their nine Big Ten losses.

“I wasn’t surprised that there was going to be a letdown in some energy based on how we played
a couple nights ago and how electric the building was,” Penn State head coach Russ Rose said.

After a dominant first set, the Nittany Lions struggled in sets two and three, allowing the Scarlet
Knights to hang around and make both sets competitive.

“I thought [Rutgers] warmed up and they were playing a lot better," Rose said. "I thought we played well in
the first game, hitting .500 and other than the fact that we missed three or four serves, I thought
we were doing a real nice job controlling the ball."

The Nittany Lions hit only .100 in the second set, keeping the Scarlet Knights around before
eventually stretching to a seven-point victory.

The third set gave Penn State the most trouble, with Rutgers jumping out to a 4-0 lead and
staying in front throughout most of the first half of the set. Penn State went on a late run to give
itself a 21-17 lead before a Rutgers timeout.

The Nittany Lions faced a 24-22 lead and two match points, but squandered both opportunities,
leading to a deuce game and the first and only Penn State timeout of the night.

They came out looking like a top 10 team in the final moments of the set, winning back-to-back
points to secure a 26-24 victory and a seventh straight Big Ten victory.

Bryanna Weiskircher and Tori Gorrell led the way in hitting percentage for the Nittany Lions,
swinging at .857 and .429, respectively.

Those two, some of the main veterans on the team, have had no shortage of chemistry in their
time with this program.

“Tori just has a lot of energy, and I know we’ve been together for a few years now so we’ve
been able to run a few different things that we can’t necessarily run with the other kids,”
Weiskircher said. “Her energy and confidence when she does go to swing, and then when she
gets the kill, that energy is really important to have.”

Sahbria McLetchie led the way for the Scarlet Knights with nine kills, but they hit only .140 on
the night next to .284 for Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have the rare task of back-to-back matches against the same opponent, as they
travel to Piscataway, New Jersey on Saturday. This presents a unique circumstance for the Nittany Lions
as opposed to other typical weeks.

“What it really does for you during the week is that you don’t have to spend the whole time
looking at two different teams in preparation,” Rose said. “We’ll at least be able to look at the
film from tonight and look at some of the things that we have to look at from the scouting report
and tonight’s match.”

Saturday’s game is set for 7 p.m. in New Jersey.

 


Tom Shively is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email
shivelyt97@gmail.com.