No. 1 Women’s Volleyball Gets Past Wisconsin
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On the night of the Dig Pink game, an event devoted to raising awareness for breast cancer, No. 1 Penn State women’s volleyball put on a show by taking down the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers in four sets (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16).
In a sea of pink shirts and plastic hard hats, three Penn State players had career performances on Wednesday at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions were led by redshirt junior outside hitter Nia Reed and senior middle blocker Haleigh Washington.
Reed and Washington combined for 25 kills on 48 attempts, only committing 4 errors.
Washington’s efforts led to a very important milestone. The 6-foot-3 captain is the eighth player in Penn State history to have 1,000 kills and 500 blocks and the only active Big Ten player with such a feat.
Senior outside hitter Simone Lee did a little bit of everything against the Badgers.
The team-leader in kills added to that total with 8 more, as well as picking up 18 digs and 3 blocks.
Lee also set a career high for digs in a match with that mark.
“I thought Simone passed well and played great defense,” Penn State head coach Russ Rose said.
But another significant story from the match was the play of Reed. Prior to meeting with the Badgers, Reed had registered 45 kills in 37 sets played, but she also had 23 attack errors to her credit.
The New Jersey native was instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions jump out ahead of a talented Wisconsin team.
Penn State found themselves down 11-6 in the second set after handling the first frame with ease.
In that second set, Reed collected five straight kills for Penn State and was 8 for 9 after 25-22 set win.
As a designated hitter, Reed must be ready at all times to enter into the game. Her mindset is focused on being prepared no matter the situation.
“Every game is different; every game is a different matchup. My mentality is not ‘oh am I going to play in this game?’, Reed said. “It’s just to always be ready.”
Rose and Washington were both very happy and impressed with Reed’s performance on the court.
“I thought Nia came in and put on a great offensive performance, which is a great opportunity for her to help the team like that,” Rose said.
“It’s great seeing a teammate succeed,” Washington said. “If you saw me, I was smiling and jumping up and down, getting so excited.”
“Nia is a tank and goes into practice every day and works so hard. She keeps working and keeps working and keeps working and seeing a result like that is phenomenal.”
At (20-1, 9-1), Penn State was able to bolster its status as the No. 1 team in the nation with another dominant win, especially over a top ten team like Wisconsin.
After falling to the Badgers a season ago, Rose and his team were able to bounce back and find the right strategy to defeat them this time around.
“It was a tough match against a really good opponent,” Rose said. “They beat us last year at their place and we’ll see them in a month and I’m sure they’ll be excited to see us rolling into town.”
Zach Seyko is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism.To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.