No. 13 Penn State Women’s Volleyball Set for Big Ten Battle

Story posted October 7, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Emma Holtz

It’s a volleyball weekend in Happy Valley as the Nittany Lions look ahead to two colossal matchups at Rec Hall.

The weekend kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. when the No. 13 Nittany Lions face off with the No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Penn State marked the match as a “Wear White” game which expects the Nittany Lion faithful to flood Rec Hall in all-white gear.

The blue and white have yet to lose a single set at home since the start of the 2021 fall season. The Penn State Classic in Rec Hall set the tone as the Blue and White brought out the brooms to sweep opponents Iowa State, Oregon State and Louisiana State University.

Penn State went on to sweep the Ohio State Buckeyes who were ranked No. 3 at the time and pulled off an epic comeback that saw the Nittany Lions being down two sets on the road against
the University of Maryland Terrapins.

The Nittany Lions’ hitting core is one to watch with outside hitters Adanna Rollins and Erika Pritchard and right side Jonni Parker expected to get plenty of touches.

Parker ranks fourth in the Big Ten for both total kills and points per set with 182 Kills and 4.48 points per set. Parker’s balance between offensive strikes and defensive support could be on display against a well-rounded Cornhuskers roster.

Defensive specialist Jenna Hampton protects the back row for the Nittany Lions and has proven to be versatile in digging and setting. Hampton leads the blue and white in digs with 168.

Penn State challenges Nebraska at home looking to protect a six-game winning streak. Nebraska historically defeated Penn State in its last nine of ten contests.

The Cornhuskers are coming off a three-week stint at home in the Devaney Center sweeping its last three Big Ten opponents. A Cornhusker to watch out for is middle blocker Kayla Caffey, who ranks sixth in the Big Ten with a .399 hitting percentage.

Another Cornhusker to keep an eye on is outside hitter Lexi Sun has 13 service aces on the season, ranking eighth in the Big Ten.

In the overall Big Ten leader standings, Nebraska is represented six times to Penn State’s seven times. Both programs are the only remaining undefeated teams with 4-0 records in Big Ten Conference play.

Northwestern will roll in the following evening at 7 p.m. after a loss at home to No. 7 Minnesota. The Wildcats are currently 1-3 in Big Ten play and 6-9 overall on the season. 

Northwestern brings with them outside hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara, who ranks seventh in kills per set, fifth in points per set and ninth in service aces per set within the Big Ten Conference.

The junior from Glenwood, Illinois racked up 21 kills for the Wildcats against Minnesota and accounted for 25.5 points.

The Nittany Lions are 39-3 all-time against the Wildcats. The Nittany Lions swept Northwestern in its last matchup in 2019.

As an organization, Northwestern ranks last in the Big Ten for in digs, which could prove to be challenging on the defensive end going up against the high-powered Nittany Lion offensive attack.

Emma Holtz is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email