Women’s Volleyball Sweeps Wake Forest and Ohio
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – As difficult as it is waking up early on a Saturday morning, Penn State women’s volleyball took care of business like it was no different than an evening night match.
The No. 2 Nittany Lions swept the visiting Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Rec Hall this morning, 25-16, 25-11, 25-11, in their second match of the Penn State Classic.
Wake Forest becomes the second consecutive opponent that Penn State has defeated in straight sets since taking down the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal, 3-2, at the University of Illinois last weekend.
Senior outside hitter Simone Lee led the way with 10 kills on 11 attempts and notching five service aces, which was four more than Wake Forest’s team total. Teammate senior middle blocker Haleigh Washington followed close behind Lee in scoring with eight kills of her own.
Washington was also a force in front of the net, denying the Demon Deacons throughout the contest and collecting a team-high seven blocks.
Redshirt junior setter Bryanna Weiskircher helped keep the offense rolling, adding 24 assists to her season total of 195 prior to the Wake Forest match.
The team was dominant as a whole, converting over .500 of its attacks. Penn State also capitalized on the Demon Deacon’s miscues, as Wake Forest committed 20 attack errors and eight service errors.
Defensively, Blue & White did an excellent job of keeping Wake Forest’s best offensive presence in check. Senior OH Kylie long came in to today’s outing with a team-leading 121 total kills.
The Nittany Lions were able to limit the 6-foot-2 Texas native, holding her to just four kills on 14 tries.
After sweeping Wake Forest in their morning match, the Penn State women’s volleyball team returned to the floor of Rec Hall and thumped the Ohio Bobcats in straight sets in an afternoon matinée. This was the Nittany Lions last match of the Penn State Classic between the three schools and the Yale Bulldogs.
Penn State was looking for their fourth 10-0 start in the last 10 seasons, but it was tough sledding early on. Both teams came out flat in the first set, with multiple attacking errors and poor passes. Ohio, coached by Deane Webb, hung tough for the first 18 points or so of the set but soon faltered.
Penn State began relying on their bread and butter in their size up front. Senior middle blocker Haleigh Washington and senior opposite hitter Simone Lee did what they have done for years and dominated at the net. The duo was hammering kills by helpless Bobcat defenders, as Washington notched four kills and Lee hit three.
The Nittany Lions continued their season approach of having two setters on the floor at once, which has worked so far. Senior setter Abby Detering and redshirt junior setter Bryanna Weiskircher have been building chemistry on the floor together and it’s an approach that Penn State’s longtime head coach Russ Rose has stuck with so far. He even tried moving Weiskircher around the lineup throughout the match.
“We are still trying to tweak the lineup and see what works best and today we were trying that,” Rose said on moving Weiskircher to the front line.
Both Detering and Weiskircher had five and seven assists respectively in the first set. Penn State eventually flexed their muscles and won the set, 25-15.
The second set was very much like the first, with Ohio coming out strong and keeping it close at 9-9 but then Penn State gaining control and running away with it to win 25-15 again.
Washington sat out for most of the set and in her place, redshirt junior opposite hitter Nia Reed came on and played very well. Reed rattled off five kills on seven attempts and helped fuel the Blue and White to a .407 hitting percentage. Penn State’s defense was stifling up front and in the back, holding Ohio just a .034 hitting percentage in the second set.
The third set was the most competitive and toughest set for the Nittany Lions. Ohio battled hard early on, due in part to the play of sophomore outside hitter Lizzie Stephens and her 12 kills. Their fight was so fierce to the end that at one point it was just a five-point set, when Penn State led 21-16.
Unfortunately for Ohio, any run they made in this match was usually given away with a service error (they had six on the match) and Penn State got the momentum back. Penn State took control and closed out the Bobcats, 25-19.
Rose applauded his players’ performance and was glad his players could get through non-conference play undefeated.
“The players understand the importance of being prepared to play big ten play,” Rose said after the game. “I am happy these individuals are here right now and hopefully we can be better off for our next afternoon game.”
Lee raised her team kills lead to 138 and Weiskircher padded her team assist lead to 257.
Yale defeated Ohio in three sets 3-0 early Saturday afternoon and Wake Forest defeated the Bobcats in four sets Friday.
This was win number 1,223 for Rose, who already has the NCAA record for wins and championships (seven). Penn State reaffirmed their No. 2 ranking by sweeping all three opponents that traveled to University Park for the weekend.
The Nittany Lions will return home next Friday and open Big Ten play against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. That match is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Matthew Harvey is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and history. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zach Seyko is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communication arts & sciences. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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