Women’s Volleyball Downs Clemson in Straight Sets
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —The Nittany Lions closed out the Penn State Invitational Saturday with a convincing win over Clemson (5-7) in straight sets; 25-14, 25-17, 25-12. The win was the sixth straight for Penn State and moved the team to 8-3 on the year.
Ali Frantti, Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington led the offensive attack in the first set for the Lions, tallying three kills apiece en route to a dominating set win. Clemson kept it close, leading at one point 9-8, but the Penn State offense was too much late in the set, taking 17 of the last 22 points.
Lee along with Heidi Thelen led the charge in the second set with four kills apiece. Washington added three kills and three blocks as well, contributing to the 10 total blocks on the night for Penn State. Clemson managed only one block.
Thelen has been thriving at right hitter after moving over to that side at the beginning of the season. She finished with eight kills overall and a block.
“I actually like the right side a lot. It’s different,” Thelen said postgame. “The timing is different, the blocking is different. It’s what the team needs and I’m glad I could help out.”
The most dominating set put together by the Lions was the final set. Penn State jumped out to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a 13-point victory. Stellar play on the defensive end held Clemson to a -.075 hitting percentage in the third set. Penn State closed the match on an 8-2 run to sweep the tournament.
“We played well,” said coach Russ Rose. “I thought we passed pretty well. Kendall (White) was really good defensively. Haleigh and Heidi were able to have great nights offensively. We’ve got a lot of things to work on, but I’m pleased with where we’re at right now.”
Leah Perri, Megan McGinley and Kailey Harvell paced the Tigers with eight kills each, but overall it was a rough night for the girls in orange. Clemson had 27 errors including 11 in the final set while Penn State only had seven for the entire game. The team hit -.010 on the day, their lowest percentage of the season.
The Nittany Lions took down Howard and Rhode Island, both in straight sets, on Friday night and Saturday morning respectively, contributing to a weekend sweep.
“We’re excited to start Big Ten play next weekend,” said Rose. “For the next ten weeks, we’ll be playing two matches that all have the same value. It’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint.”
Penn State’s Big Ten slate starts this weekend with matches at Rutgers and Northwestern before the conference home opener against Michigan State on Sept. 30.
Tom Shively is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.