Nittany Lions Continue Dominance Over Scarlet Knights With Sweep

Story posted March 15, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Neil Conley

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in women’s volleyball at Rec Hall on Saturday. Annie Cate Fitzpatrick led the Nittany Lions to their second consecutive 3-0 sweep against the Scarlet Knights with 11 kills and 14.5 points.

Penn State scored points efficiently and secured the victory with ease despite a close second set and struggle with service errors. At one point in the second set, Rutgers had a four-point lead, but then Penn State went on a seven-point streak soon after.

Maddy Bilinovic explained that when Penn State is losing it is due to their errors.

“When we control the ball and control our serve for sure and control the pass, then we can do what we want on our side of the net and that makes all the difference,” Bilinovic said.

Penn State had nine service errors compared to Rutgers’ two. Anastasiya Kudryashova believes that Penn State’s biggest issue is struggling when serving under pressure.

“We can miss seven, eight serves in a game, which is a lot. We cannot allow ourselves to do that,” Kudryashova said. “I think we just have to work on trust and just keep working together, communicate and everything is going to be fine.”

Contrary to the trend with the service error statistic, Rutgers struggled with attack errors and reception errors. The Scarlet Knights had 17 attack errors to Penn State’s nine and eight reception errors to Penn State’s two.

Penn State had a final hitting percentage of 0.438 while Rutgers had a final hitting percentage of 0.116. With those hits, Penn State amassed 48 kills and 45 assists compared to Rutgers’ 27 kills and 23 assists.

Rutgers was also outdone in service aces, only recording two versus Penn State’s eight.

Head coach Russ Rose explained that the team was unhealthy starting the season and that it is difficult to get better when you cannot train. However, he explained that there have been flashes where it is seen that the players have regained their legs and have gotten better.

“It’s a catch 22, you can’t get better without training and you can’t train when you’ve got so many lingering injuries and things that prevent you from being able to go hard every day," Rose said. “It’s a sport where if you don’t go hard, you really aren’t going to get any better. I think the teams and the players that are going hard every day are the teams and the players that are going to be competing in the playoffs for a national championship.”

Penn State’s all-time record against Rutgers overall is 17-0. The Nittany Lions have managed to sweep the Scarlet Knights in every competition except for the 2001 meeting where the Scarlet Knights won one set.

The Nittany Lions improved to 7-5 overall this season while the Scarlet Knights fell to 2-12 overall.

Penn State’s next match is away at Michigan State and Rutgers returns home for its next match against Purdue.

 

Neil Conley is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email arob8geno7@gmail.com.