No. 9 Penn State Comes Back to Defeat Illinois in Fifth Set

Story posted February 7, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Trevor Grady

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 9 Penn State fell behind two sets to one against Illinois on Saturday night at Rec Hall but bounced back and won the match in the fifth set.

Penn State opened up a big lead in the first set and never let Illinois get back into it. The Nittany Lions won the opening set 25-16.

The second set was a battle and felt like it would never end. The Fighting Illini were able to win the set 29-27 and even the match up at one set apiece. Illinois took the third set in a very similar fashion as the second, winning 28-26.

Penn State was up against the ropes in the fourth set but left no doubt, winning it 25-15. It was tied 2-2 at the beginning of the fifth set, and then Penn State went on a 7-0 scoring run and never looked back. The Nittany Lions won the fifth set 15-8.

Freshman outside hitter Annie Cate Fitzpatrick was outstanding in her second game of her college career. She led the team in kills for the second straight game with 17.

Fitzpatrick spoke about how it feels to be performing this well so early in her career.

“I was just having a lot of fun, I love the competitiveness of the game,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s really nice having a bunch of other hitters on the team that can hold those middles because I’m undersized.”

Fitzpatrick stands at just 5 feet 11 inches, but her play outmatched that of her taller counterparts.

“It’s nice to be able to think that the ball is going elsewhere, so I get the opportunity to be one on one,” Fitzpatrick said.

The No. 9 Nittany Lions have a week off until their next series, and it’s going to be a good one. They’ll travel to Minnesota to take on the No. 6 Golden Gophers on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.


Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems and minoring in journalism. To contact him, email