Penn State women’s volleyball falls short against Wisconsin in a five-set thriller
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- No. 14 Penn State falls late to No. 3 Wisconsin after a back-and-forth fifth set.
The final set in the match was neck and neck the whole way. The teams were tied 11-11 going into the final stretch. After a service error by Gillian Grimes of Penn State, Wisconsin went on a 4-point run to seal the victory over Penn State.
The atmosphere on Saturday was electric as it was a full Rec Hall, and the place erupted after every Penn State point.
“We’re lucky to have the fan base we have,” said coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley. “I’m just happy we’re able to support Johnny.”
Saturday’s match featured a ‘Silent Set’ in the first set of the match as this is to raise awareness during the international week of Deaf. The crowd was silent until Penn State scored their ninth point of the set.
This took longer than expected as Wisconsin started red hot, beginning the game on an 8-0 run. Wisconsin led Penn State 19-9 before the crowd could get into the game. The slow start from the Nittany Lions was a mix of great defense from Wisconsin and bad errors by Penn State.
“I thought it was a phenomenal crowd tonight,” said Schumacher-Crawley. “Our team did some good things after the first set.”
There was clear frustration by the coach of Penn State during the first set. The team accumulated 13 errors in the first set alone.
Penn State bounced back quickly, taking the second and fourth sets as the teams split sets back and forth. The difference maker for Penn State was Kashauna Williams.
When Williams was hot, Penn State came away with the sets. When Williams began to struggle the team struggled with her.
She became the difference maker in the second set. The Badgers did not have an answer for her ferocious spikes (18 kills) and killer serves. She accounted for a couple of blocks as well. Her only kryptonite was on the other end, Devyn Robinson.
“She’s a great player,” said Schumacher-Crawley. “She can go up and do a lot of special things.”
Robinson finished with 17 kills and nine blocks, leading the team in both categories. The Badger’s defense was also propelled by Danielle Hart with eight blocks and Anna Smrek with six.
Allie Holland and Seleisa Elisaia had great nights as well. Holland finished with 15 kills and four blocks. Elisaia finished with 59 assists on a busy night where Penn State had a lot of offensive attacks.
This game was a lot different than the game these two teams played earlier in the year when Wisconsin swept Penn State.
Penn State now falls to 22-7 with playoffs coming up and it will need to win next week against Northwestern and Purdue.
Wisconsin, on the other hand, looks to be in a good spot sitting at 23-3 on the regular season.
Kyle Schmidt is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.