Penn State Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Purdue
While not its best performance of the season, the Penn State women’s volleyball team stood victorious Friday night in Rec Hall.
The No. 2 Nittany Lions defeated the No. 14 Purdue Boilermakers in straight-sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-21), improving to 21-2 (12-1) on the season. The win sustained Penn State’s dominance over Purdue and secured its 25th straight home victory against the Boilermakers. The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 50-5.
Both teams battled back and forth early on in an opening set that consisted of nine tie scores and four lead changes. Seniors Deja McClendon and Katie Slay attacked aggressively, tallying five kills each in the first set.
Holding onto a close 16-15 lead, Penn State compiled a 10-2 run that resulted in a 25-18 first set victory.
While the Nittany Lions won the first set, 35th year head coach Russ Rose was still displeased with the performance of his players.
“I thought the serving was bad from the beginning, and it carried over to a lot of areas,” said Rose. “I just didn’t think we played hard. I felt we played really well last weekend, and we played hard, and I didn’t think we were doing either of those things today.”
McClendon, who lead the Penn State offense with 13 kills, started off the second set with a kill that eventually became an 8-3 Penn State lead. The Nittany Lions pulled away to as much as 19-10, until the Boilermakers battled back.
Purdue slowly chipped Penn State’s lead to 22-15, and followed up with four consecutive kills to reach as close as 22-19. Slay delayed the Boilermakers run with a kill, only to have Purdue answer back with a kill of their own.
An attack error by Purdue left Penn State at set point. After Purdue held off two set point attempts to stay alive, Penn State Sophomore Megan Courtney landed a kill that gave Penn State a 2-0 match lead.
The third set was another tight battle as neither team grabbed more than a three-point lead. After trailing 8-5, Penn State went on a 4-0 run to take a 9-8 lead. Both teams continued to battle back and forth, until redshirt freshman Paulina Prieto Cerame and senior Ariel Scott slammed back-to-back kills that put Penn State ahead 20-18.
Purdue clawed back to reach as close as 23-21, but were still no match for Penn State. Junior Nia Grant landed a kill to set up match point, and a Purdue error sealed the three set sweep for the Lions.
Although displeased with his players’ performances, head coach Russ Rose was pleased with the fans in attendance and hopes his team will rebound from this match.
“It wasn’t a very clean game on our side, but we appreciate the fans coming out to watch, and we’d like to think we’ll play a lot better in the future,” said Rose.
Penn State will match up against the Indiana Hoosiers tomorrow night at 7 pm in Rec Hall.
Collin Smith is a Penn State student majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.