Women’s Volleyball: No. 1 Penn State Bounces Back With Straight Sets Sweep vs. Iowa
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania. – Rec Hall’s usual scene of blue and white was accompanied by flashes of pink this Saturday as the Penn State took down the Iowa Hawkeyes in the annual “Dig Pink” game, raising awareness for the Side-Out Foundation.
The Nittany Lions were looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season at the hands of No. 4 Nebraska just the night before.
Starting out on a sluggish note, the Lion’s play caused Coach Russ Rose to take his first timeout down 7-11 in the first set. After some corrections, they fought right back to even Iowa at 12 all.
The teams tangled back and forth for the lead, swapping points until it was level at 24.
Ali Frantti then recorded her fourth kill of the night to break the tie, and an overpass kill by captain Aiyana Whitney put an end to the set as Penn State took it 26-24.
A service error from Iowa started the second set and was a sign of things to come. Iowa continued to fight back but ran into trouble, being outplayed by Penn State and causing errors to allow the Lions to take a 21-12 lead.
Haleigh Washington led the way in the second, earning five kills in five attempts to put away Iowa in quick fashion, taking the game 25-26. She leads the NCAA with a .527 hitting percentage and added 11 kills to her season total during the match.
Set three was tightly contested like the first, where the teams swapped sole possession of the lead on four occasions.
Megan Courtney made history early in the third set by recording career kill 1,000, off of what appeared to be a clean dig by Iowa. Courtney finished just four digs short of the 1,000 career milestone in that category as well.
Coach Russ Rose was happy for his player’s accomplishment. “Megan’s had a great career to date,” Rose said. “She’s a great leader and I’m proud of the performance she has had.”
Tied at 22 apiece, Iowa’s Reagen Davey committed the team’s sixth serving error of the set to give Penn State the 23-22 lead. After answering back for 23 each, Iowa was sent home by Courtney on kills number 11 and 12 for her night, allowing the Lions to sweep the Hawkeyes at home.
Penn State now sits at 14-1 on the season and 3-1 in the B1G. While their ranking may drop this upcoming week due to Friday’s loss, the Nittany Lions will remain one of the top-ranked teams in women’s volleyball.
The Lions will continue their season next week on the road in back-to-back games in the state of Illinois, as they play conference opponents Illionis and Northwestern.
Ryan Berti is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at email@example.com or follow him on twitter: @RBirdman7