No. 1 Nittany Lions Roll Through No. 16 Wisconsin 3-0
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women’s volleyball returned to Rec Hall Wednesday after a nearly three week absence from their home court with a victory in straight sets over No. 16 Wisconsin in a rematch of their 2014 NCAA quarterfinal match.
The Nittany Lions not only bettered their undefeated record, but the team has now won 36 consecutive sets to start the season.
Four Penn State players hit double-digit kills, with Ali Frantti getting a game-high 14.
When asked how she felt after the match, Haleigh Washington (11 kills) expressed how proud she was to be a part of the Penn State volleyball program.
“I feel really proud, actually,” said Washington. “It’s incredible that we get to play here and we get to represent Penn State in such a positive way.”
The first set was back and forth in the early going, as neither team was able to get more than a one-point lead until Wisconsin went up 11-9. Penn State went down 12-9 on the next point, but rallied back to tie the match at 14.
The Nittany Lions took the lead at 16-15, and quickly extended it to a 19-15 lead with two straight points from Megan Courtney.
Penn State got their lead up to 20-16, but Wisconsin clawed back in by making it 20-18 on a kill by sophomore hitter Lauren Gillis.
A few points later, an Ali Frantti kill gave Penn State set point at 24-21.
Aiyana Whitney closed out the first set for Penn State with her first kill of the match.
The second set could not have been more different than the first. Penn State was firing on all cylinders to start the second set, quickly jumping out to a 12-4 lead with Whitney, Frantti, Bryanna Weiskircher, and Courtney doing all of the scoring for the Nittany Lions.
The closest the Badgers would get to the Penn State lead in the second set was five points, when Lauren Carlini tallied a kill to make it 16-11.
Penn State would go on to handily win the second set 25-16, finished off by a Washington kill.
The third set was almost a mirror image of the first set early on, as every time Wisconsin would take a lead, the Nittany Lions would win the next point to tie the set right back up.
That cycle continued until two straight blocks from Washington put the Nittany Lions up 12-10.
Penn State rode that rally to a 14-10 lead, and that would be all that the team needed.
The scoring was largely back and forth from that point, but Wisconsin never came closer than four points, and Penn State won the match on Frantti’s 14th kill of the match.
Although the win was convincing, Head Coach Russ Rose said he wouldn’t get too excited about a single win this early in the season.
“I’m pleased with a lot of players and how they played,” said Rose. “I won’t get too high about it because I know there’s 19 more matches in conference play. There’s no reason to celebrate anything.”
John McHugh is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He can be contacted at email@example.com.