Penn State Sweeps Indiana Behind Strong Play from Parker, Kudryashova
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State clinched a sweep against Indiana Saturday evening in the second of two wins against the Hoosiers. The Nittany Lions won by a score of 25-15, 25-21, 25-22.
Penn State claimed the first set 25-15 thanks to efficient ball striking. Anastasiya Kudryashova sealed the frame with her sixth kill of the set, and the Nittany Lions led the Hoosiers in kills 18-8. Communication plagued Indiana to start the match, as the Hoosiers struggled to set up strong opportunities for kills.
Indiana responded with a better second set, leading for the majority of the frame before Penn State took control with a 20-19 lead. From there, the Nittany Lions put together a scoring run to run away with the set. Jonni Parker added four more kills, and Kudryashova added six. Annie Cate Fitzpatrick also had several big kills in the set, including the clincher off a feed by Jenna Hampton.
Through two sets, Penn State was going for an all-or-nothing approach in the service game via big, risky swings. The strategy paid off several times for five service aces but also kept the Hoosiers competitive in the second set with eight service errors. Indiana battled and held leads late in the set, but Penn State fought back hard and came away with a 25-21 victory.
After allowing Penn State to run away with the first set, Indiana proved to be much stiffer competition as the match wore on. The Hoosiers were tied with the Nittany Lions as late as 19-19 in the third set, but key blocks from Serena Gray and a handful of attacking errors by Indiana pushed Penn State over the top.
Penn State didn’t have its best match hitting the ball, but it was Indiana that really struggled to get its ball striking on track, hitting .182 for the match. Penn State racked up 52 kills to the Hoosiers’ 31.
Nittany Lions head coach Russ Rose lamented the 12 service errors in the match that helped keep Indiana alive in the final two sets.
Redshirt sophomore Kudryashova is new to the program, transferring from Rutgers, and her 14-kill effort earned her praise from her teammates. Kudryashova showed her admiration for them as well.
“The best thing is when your teammates work as hard as you, and the chemistry comes together because everyone is working hard at practice,” Kudryashova said.
Fitzpatrick also had a bit of a coming-out game with 10 kills of her own. Her performance was recognized by Rose.
“She’s got good enthusiasm, she’s got a nice strong frame, and she works hard in practice,” Rose said.
Now having completed a grueling stretch of five matches in eight days, Penn State will next face Maryland in College Park on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Nittany Lions will be 4-3 entering the series.
Jeremy Ganes is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.