Women’s Volleyball: No. 5 Penn State Crushes Indiana And No. 18 Purdue Without Courtney
Penn State returned home this weekend for two conference matches. The Nittany Lions met Indiana on Friday for their military appreciation game and faced Purdue on Saturday night.
The Nittany Lions took down the Hoosiers winning in straight sets (25-18, 25-15, 25-14), and took down the Boilermakers the following night in the same fashion (25-18, 25-17, 25-17).
Megan Courtney, the Nittany Lions veteran leader, was out this weekend, causing major lineup changes for PSU.
Three Nittany Lions had career-high performances against Indiana.
Sophomore Simone Lee finished the night with a team leading 10 kills and a career-high .474 hitting efficacy, while redshirt freshman Nia Reed finished the night with a career high six kills and her first multi-block game (2). Senior Lara Caraway started her first match as a Nittany Lion and finished the night with eight digs.
Penn State got its block party going in the first set and kept it rolling through the third.
Indiana trailed throughout the entire first set but was able to pull within one (10-9) once its service line started to fire up, causing problems for the Nittany Lions offense.
After a service ace by Ali Frantti, Penn State began rolling pulling ahead by seven points late in the first, 18-11.
Lee and Reed both finished the first set with five kills.
Indiana opened the second with their first lead of the night, 4-2, but a service error by the Hoosiers and kills from Haleigh Washington and Frantti gave Penn State the lead, 6-4, and they never looked back.
The Nittany Lions went on a 10-5 run, taking a 20-11 lead late in the second set much to the credit of the blocking.
Aiyana Whitney and Bryanna Weiskircher finished the second set with four blocks.
Lee took control of the third set hitting three consecutive kills sending Penn State on a 5-1 run.
Penn State ran away with the third set taking a 19-9 lead, and ending on a block from Whitney and Heidi Thelen.
The Nittany Lions finished the night with 12 blocks, Whitney leading the team with eight blocks.
“It’s still Penn State, it wasn’t Megan’s team before, it’s a team game so I’m happy with occupations the other players made and we’ll have to play significantly better tomorrow,” head coach Russ Rose said after the game.
Saturday night was much of the same for the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions going up against the No. 1 team in the Big Ten.
The first set started out close but after a pair of kills from Lee, Penn State was able to take the lead and never gave it back.
The rest of the set belonged to Washington.
Washington finished the first set hitting .625 with five kills and registering four blocks.
After holding off the first two set points, the Nittany Lions were able to take it on a service error by the Boilermakers.
Penn State and Indiana tied six times throughout the early parts of the second set until Penn State was able to pull ahead by three, 14-11, and a Purdue timeout played into the heads of the Nittany Lions.
Penn State went up 24-17 and finished the set on an attacking error from Purdue.
The third set was much of the same for Penn State, taking an early lead and finishing the match on a service error from Purdue.
Washington finished the night hitting a team leading .588 with 10 kills and nine blocks.
Lee finished with a big night registering 12 kills; Frantti had a big night as well having nine kills and six blocks.
“I thought we played much better than we did last night against a team that started the weekend as the number one team in the conference,” coach Rose said after the game. “I thought Bryanna played real well, served especially well, and Haleigh had a great night offensively.”
After the match, Megan Courtney was presented with a golden volleyball after surpassing the 1,000 kills mark.
Penn State returns to action Oct. 21 against Michigan in Ann Arbor.