A Series of Unfortunate Events
In four sets, Illinois handed Penn State a heartbreaking loss by taking advantage of PSU’s many errors—18 attacking and eight at the service line to be exact.
Junior outside hitter Megan Courtney is usually a force to be reckoned with, always one of the team’s top attackers. She had a bit of an off game Saturday, which hurt the Lions on both offense and defense.
At the other end of the spectrum, first time starter Haleigh Washington proved herself as MVP against Illinois. The freshman scored a personal best of 14 kills and led the team in blocking with seven blocks.
Washington also added a new edge to the team, a little thing called passion. An issue in previous game against Northwestern was Penn State’s energy level. Rose made it very clear he was unhappy with the girls’ lack of emotion.
Once again the energy wasn’t at its full potential, but Washington surely contributed to the small improvement. Every time she’d step on the court she was pumping her fists and stomping with excitement. Not to mention she’d scream and cheer with every point no matter how much or how little that one point seemed to matter.
Senior Micha Hancock also climbed her way to the top of the stat board with 53 assists and three aces. Behind Washington, Hancock had the second best hitting percentage at .471.
Hancock goes above and beyond to get her job done as a setter. She seems to be struggling with the adjustment from former teammate Deja McClendon to the freshmen that replaced her this season.
This is an ongoing issue for Rose and the team. The freshmen are adjusting to the college level play while veterans are having a hard time communicating. The issue is a work in progress and should improve as the season goes on, but until then a little spark of energy can’t hurt.
Towards the end of the fourth set, fans got a taste of this energy. Penn State put on a very hopeful rally cap and closed in on a nine-point deficit. Unfortunately, the fire started a bit too late and the hope was crushed.
If the team can create that type of hope and emotion at the start of a game instead of at the last second, the L’s will turn into W’s.
The loss puts the Nittany Lions 16-3, 4-2 in the conference. They travel to Indiana on Friday, Oct. 17 to take on Purdue. The game starts at 8 p.m. and BTN will provide TV coverage.