Penn State Women’s Volleyball Slays Michigan State to get back in the win column.
No. 17 Penn State took down Michigan State in four sets (25-17, 22-25, 25-22, 25-16) on Sunday afternoon at Rec Hall.
“Winning is hard,” head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley said. She has been echoing this sentiment all season, but after Saturday’s game against Michigan State, the catchphrase took on a new meaning.
Schumacher-Cawley previously used the line to credit an undefeated team, but now her words were spoken in relief of breaking a two match losing streak.
“This conference is hard,” continued Schumacher-Cawley, “so it feels great to win, great to be back at home.”
The competition drew in a larger and louder crowd than many early weekend games, with Saturday afternoon celebrating the team’s THON game.
It was a competitive match from the beginning, even if the first set score of 25-17 doesn’t fully show it. The two teams went back-and-forth early, with the Nittany Lions tallying 12 blocks against the Spartans’ attacks, until Penn State went on a run late to take the set, led by a six-kill performance from outside hitter Kashauna Williams. She would finish the day with a total of 29 kills and three assisted blocks at the net.
The momentum carried early into the second set for the Blue-and-White, as it took a 7-1 lead early leading to a Michigan State timeout. However, the mood would shift as Michigan State battled back, with help from ten errors by the Nittany Lions, to take the set 25-22.
From that point on, Penn State would cruise to victory.
“When you have two, three errors, it just means you have to do 23 points better, if that makes sense,” Zoe Weatherington said. “I think we did that tonight.”
The defense continued to struggle, with many balls that made it past the net reaching the ground around the Nittany Lions, but their offense led them to a close 25-22 victory in the third set.
“They had high hands and a little bit different tempo,” Schumacher-Cawley said.
The season-long theme of extended runs in the game stood out in the final set of the match, when Penn State promptly took the set 25-16 in order to claim the victory.
The set was so successful for the Nittany Lions that their hitting percentage for the entire match raised almost .200 from .179 to .370.
The team was also bumped up by a total of 42 digs, an effort led by the 10 put up by the Blue-and-White’s libero Maddy Bilinovic, and seven service aces.
Every statline has its negative factors too, Nittany Lions know what they need to work on, as they totaled more service and attack errors than the Spartans in the match.
“It’s hard to win,'' middle blocker Allie Holland said. “We’re going straight for our next practice and giving 110%.”
Evan Smith is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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