Pittsburgh Sweeps Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Trailing No. 6 Pittsburgh 24-18 in the third set and looking to avoid being swept at home, No. 4 Penn State gave a sold-out Rec Hall crowd one last glimmer of hope with a subsequent 5-0 run to pull within one of the Panthers.
That final Nittany Lions’ surge proved to be too little too late, as Pitt sophomore Kayla Lund ended the match with her match-high 14th kill. It marked the first time that Penn State was swept at home by a non-conference opponent since 1986.
“Well I’m disappointed in how we played, but I thought that Pittsburgh played very well and I expected them to play very well,” Penn State head coach Russ Rose said. “I was very surprised with how we played but that happens sometimes. You play your style and sometimes their style exposes some of the things you don’t do as well.”
The win moved Pitt to a perfect 11-0 start on the season and gave the Panthers a signature victory at the end of non-conference play.
Pitt hit .337 as a team for the match, while Penn State posted a far less efficient .129 hitting percentage. Jonni Parker, the team’s leading hitter, recorded 13 kills but needed 31 attempts to do so and committed nine errors as well.
“I thought their serve-pass game was really good, and the first couple of games they were hitting well over .400 and we never really had a chance to get into the flow of what we wanted to do,” Rose said. “We didn’t do a very good job of getting the team ready to play and Pitt was ready to play and played a great game.”
Freshman Chinaza Ndee also tallied 12 kills for the Panthers on an impressive .611 hitting percentage.
“Ndee is a very good player and our scouting report gave her the proper respect that she deserved, and I thought that she certainly reinforced the respect with how she played today,” Rose said. “ She’s quick off the floor, has a good arm – we had a plan and the players in front of her didn’t compete against her very effectively.”
While Penn State can’t point to many bright spots from Friday night’s match, the team will run it back with the Panthers on Sunday, this time in Pittsburgh.
“They have done a terrific job of putting this program together right now,” Rose said. “They’ve won the last two ACC Championships and they’ve done a terrific job with recruiting and they’ve got some veteran players and are playing very well.”
Will Desautelle is a senior majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.