Parker, No. 8 Penn State Defeat Hoosiers in Four Sets
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was another tale of dominance for the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions, as they defeated the Indiana Hoosiers on Friday night in Rec Hall in four sets.
Penn State commanded the first set but lost its footing in the second, losing 27-25. However, the Nittany Lions displayed their championship-caliber spirit with a resounding 25-10 win in the third set, followed up by a 25-18 win in the fourth to close out the match. This was a great test for Penn State, despite the fact Indiana has not won in Happy Valley since 2010.
This was a game that could’ve easily taken the Nittany Lions by surprise and come across as a demoralizing loss, but Jonni Parker stepped up for the Lions in a huge way. Parker finished the match with 21.5 points, headlined by 18 kills of her own. In the postgame presser, Parker credited the defensive end for setting up her offensive explosion.
Serena Gray followed Parker’s lead and put up 16.5 points, which featured some key blocks and kills that changed the momentum at certain points within the match.
In the end, errors killed the Hooisers, and the Nittany Lions took advantage of those opportunities for points, especially on the Hoosiers’ attack. Overall, Indiana finished with 30 attack errors—compared to only 15 for Penn State—which stalled the Indiana offense outside of that prolific second set.
Another facet of this win that stood out was Penn State’s team play. The Nittany Lions take advantage of each touch they’re allowed, and that occurred tonight with the Nittany Lions racking up an outstanding 54 assists.
That team play occurred on the defensive end as well. Penn State dominated the block assists and reception errors categories, finishing with 12 block assists compared to only two for Indiana while racking up just three reception errors. When this Penn State squad leads with great defense first and foremost, this team transforms into a juggernaut on both ends of the floor.
If there’s any one takeaway from this game, it’s that Parker and Gray make a formidable duo, but the Nittany Lions need more scoring from other players—obviously not on the same level as Parker, but just some players to contribute enough to take some of the load off her shoulders.
In the second set, the Nittany Lions put up six service errors, which put the offense in a hole early. Still, they got offense going towards the end of the set, and a victory against a struggling Indiana, a team that hasn’t won against Penn State in the last 16 tries, goes to show that the Nittany Lions’ domination of these lower-caliber teams will give them more confidence as they get closer to the postseason.
Although it wasn’t a blowout, this was a solid test to see if Penn State could overcome a trap game and bounce back off a three-game losing streak against formidable opponents like Minnesota and Ohio State.
Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.