Nittany Lions Swept by Buckeyes in First Home Loss of Season

Story posted March 4, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Jacob Cheris

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 10 Penn State faced off against the No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes for a Big Ten matchup in Rec Hall with hopes of upsetting the No. 1 team in the Big Ten standing-wise, but the Nittany Lions were ultimately swept three sets to none.

Penn State entered Wednesday night coming off of a straight-sets win over Indiana. The Nittany Lions’ series against Maryland was postponed, so this battle against the Buckeyes marked Penn State’s first match since Feb. 20.

Unlike the last matchup back on Feb. 17 in Columbus where the Nittany Lions went to a fifth set and eventually lost, this match did not go as planned for Penn State.

Jonni Parker, a typical offensive force for the Nittany Lions, was held to a season-low five kills. She has 106 kills on the season and had 17 kills in her last match against Indiana.

Freshman Annie Cate Fitzpatrick had five service errors, and one of them came late in the match, but Rose emphasized that even though she made those errors, it’s mostly on the older players to get the team rallying. Fitzpatrick also had four aces in the last matchup.

Head coach Russ Rose was very disappointed in the performance of both his experienced players and his own coaching.

“I didn’t think we were very good from the first whistle to the last whistle,” Rose said. “A lot of that falls on me as a coach, and I’m disappointed in the effort we put out on the floor today.”

The running trend for the Nittany Lions was playing out of system. Penn State had a tough time collapsing the middle of the floor, which gave the Buckeyes easy openings when on the attack.

This was especially apparent in the first set, in which the Nittany Lions lost 25-18.

Though the second set was filled with more action and more excitement, Penn State once again fell short. Even though the Nittany Lions had two aces, it was not enough to overcome the Buckeyes’ eventual 25-20 set victory.

The third and final set was filled with back-and-forth action, but once again, Penn State’s comeback attempt was foiled, falling just short 25-23.

This is the first loss at home for the Nittany Lions this season, who now fall to 4-4. Ohio State, meanwhile, remains unbeaten.

Players’ hopes remain high heading into the next match vs No. 11 Purdue. They’ll look to reset at practice tomorrow.

“Tomorrow, we’ve got to take it [seriously] because we know Purdue is a good team,” freshman middle blocker Allie Holland said. “There [are] no excuses for how we played tonight.”

 

Jacob Cheris is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jacobcheris19@gmail.com