Penn State Bounces Back at Home, Defeats Indiana in Straight Sets

Story posted November 9, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Andrew Field

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State women’s volleyball (18-4) defeated Indiana (12-14) on Friday night in straight sets (25-21, 25-13, 25-18). 

It was a much needed win for the Nittany Lions as they recently came off a five-set loss to Nebraska the week before and were looking to rebound at home.

“Coach [Russ Rose] always says don’t let a loss beat you twice,” sophomore setter Gabby Blossom said. “Coming out tonight was about learning from it and moving on.”

Before the loss at Nebraska, the Nittany Lions had an eight-match winning streak, while the Hoosiers carried an eight-match losing streak heading into Rec Hall.

The first set saw Penn State deal with another slow start at home as it was back-and-forth play. Sophomore outside hitter Breana Edwards caused problems for the Nittany Lions early as she had nine kills in the first set alone. There were 12 ties, and seven lead changes in the set, but it was the Nittany Lions who were able to rally and win after stellar play by sophomore middle blocker Serena Gray who pitched in 10 kills, four digs, and one block throughout the night. 

In the second set, the Nittany Lions turned up the heat with the combination of sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord and redshirt senior middle blocker Tori Gorrell carrying the team to an easy set. Hord finished with 12 kills and six blocks along with a .611 hitting percentage. Gorrell was successful with multiple cross court hits that resulted in kills for Penn State. She finished with 10 kills, one dig, and one block to round out an impressive night.

Penn State was able to outhit the Hoosiers in the set. They only had 11 kills, but hit .292 percent while Indiana had just five kills and hit minus-.120 percent as plenty of errors aided the Nittany Lions. Penn State quieted the duo of Breana Edwards and senior middle blocker Jacqui Armer as Edwards did not have a kill in the set.

In the third set, Edwards and Armer were able to come alive for the Hoosiers. This ramped up the intensity as there were four ties but no lead changes as Indiana could never capitalize off Penn State mistakes, even as they made seven server errors in critical moments throughout the match.

Sophomore Jonni Parker was kept relatively quiet throughout the majority of the match and only managed five kills and six digs. Penn State saw strong efforts from senior Kendall White and sophomore Gabby Blossom. White had 14 digs while Blossom consistently set up her teammates as she tailed 37 assists.

This was more of an important match than it looked for the Nittany Lions as Serena Gray explained how adjustments were made after the recent loss to Nebraska.

“We definitely needed to make an immediate change,” Gray said. “The Big Ten is one of those conferences where you never get a break.”

The Nittany Lions will host No. 15 Purdue Saturday as they look to start another winning streak back up.

 

 

Andrew Field is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email aaf5329@psu.edu.