Women’s Volleyball Fends off Indiana

Story posted October 14, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Phil Constantino

Coming off of an impressive three set win against the 17th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers the night before, a quick turnaround Saturday night at Rec Hall against the pesky Indiana Hoosiers (8-12, 0-8 Big Ten) could have easily been a trap game for the Penn State women’s volleyball (18-1, 8-0 Big Ten) team. But the Nittany Lions prevailed with a 3-1 victory.

“I don’t think the players respected the game Indiana plays as much as they should have,” said Head Coach Russ Rose. “You don’t have to look far into history to see that they went five last week against Nebraska and could’ve beaten Nebraska.”

Indiana controlled most of the first set. They took an 11-10 lead on a Penn State hitting error and extended their lead to 17-13 on a kill by senior middle blocker Samantha Thrower. Penn State took a timeout to put a stop to the Indiana run.

Coming out of the timeout, the Nittany Lions dropped the first point on a net violation, but then staged their comeback. Penn State tied the set at 22-22 forcing Indiana to take both timeouts along the way. The Hoosiers gathered themselves in the timeout and won the next three points, including back-to-back aces by redshirt junior outside hitter Jordan Haverly. Indiana took the set 25-22.

“It was kind of a wakeup call when we lost [the first set],” said Penn State junior outside hitter Maddie Martin, who had arguably her best match of the season.

Penn State opened the second set with consecutive kills by junior outside hitter Ariel Scott. They led the entire set and closed it out 25-19 on a kill by Martin. Martin finished the match with four kills, nine digs and an ace.

Although they did not lead the entire time, the third set was similar to the second: domination by Penn State. The Nittany Lions closed out the set 25-16 on a hitting error by Indiana to take a 2-1 match lead.

The fourth set, however, did not open as planned for Penn State. Indiana jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the Nittany Lions were called for four hits. Penn State took a timeout and as in the first set, showed mental toughness and staged their comeback.

Penn State took its final lead at 17-16 on a series of kills and blocks by junior outside hitter Deja McClendon and sophomore setter Micha Hancock. McClendon finished the match with 12 kills and Hancock, who Coach Rose later praised her defense, finished with four kills, 40 assists, three aces, 15 digs and six blocks. The Nittany Lions closed out the match on another one of Ariel Scott’s team-high 14 kills, taking the set 25-21. Penn State survived, and defeated a lesser Indiana team 3-1.

After a 2-0 weekend at home, The Nittany Lions hit the road again to play their next four games. The road trip starts at Ohio State on Wednesday against the Buckeyes, and also includes stops at Michigan, Iowa and Nebraska.

Currently the top-ranked team in the nation, Rose and his team do not feel as if they are playing up to their ranking.

"We have to play better on the road," said Ariel Scott.

The women's volleyball team returns to Rec Hall on November 2 with a match against Minnesota. That match will be broadcast live on ComRadio at 8 p.m.

Phil Constantino is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email pvc5105@psu.edu.