Penn State Gets Revenge in Four Set Victory Over Purdue
After falling to Purdue in four sets on Friday night, Penn State got their revenge on Saturday afternoon, winning in four sets.
“The difference between having a good season, a great season, or a disappointing season is having the ability to win those close games,” said Nittany Lions head coach Russ Rose.
The first set was a close, back-and-forth one. Penn State pulled away, using a 5-1 run to extend its lead to 18-12. The Nittany Lions kept the pressure on and junior Jonni Parker finished the set off with a kill coming after a lengthy rally highlighted by a diving dig from freshman Maddie Bilinovic.
Penn State had a very balanced offensive attack in the first set with five players tallying two or more kills in the first set. The final set score was 25-19.
Set number two was a completely different story as Purdue dominated nearly the entire second set. Freshman A.C. Fitzpatrick stymied their dominance for a brief moment with back-to-back service aces late in the set, but the Boilermakers ultimately ended up winning the set 25-16.
Set three was dominated by Fitzpatrick herself. Fitzpatrick had the entire crowd on their feet with a multitude of scoring runs in the set.
Purdue would not go away, though, and it cut the lead down late. But the Nittany Lions finished off set three by a score of 25-21.
Set four was the story of the game. Purdue was leading 23-19 and just two points away from forcing a fifth, winner-take-all set. Coach Rose called a timeout and gathered his squad.
Parker touched on what went on in that huddle.
“I think in the huddle it was just that we had to keep our cool,” Parker said. “We had to control what we could control on our side of the net and come out and play our game.”
That is exactly what Parker and the Nittany Lions did, as they went on a 6-0 run out of the timeout to come all the way back from behind and win the match. The final point was scored on a block from junior Serena Gray and A.C. Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick was undoubtedly the player of the match for Penn State. She finished with 16 kills, 13 digs, and three service aces.
Junior Jenna Hampton was asked about what she thought about how Fitzpatrick played.
“I’ve known A.C. for a really long time because we’re both from Florida and I’ve played against her,” Hampton said. “Something I’ve always noticed about her is how hard she works and she’ll never stop grinding and I think she goes into the gym every day to get better.”
Fitzpatrick and the Nittany Lions are back in action on Friday March 12th at Rec Hall when they will take on Rutgers in the first of their two game weekend series.
Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems and minoring in journalism. To contact him, email tmg firstname.lastname@example.org.