Cleaning up the Golden Dome Invitational
The tournament started Sept. 11, Friday evening against Eastern Kentucky (25-14, 25-13, 25-14). Penn State made the games short and sweet and was in bed early to rest up for Saturday’s double-header.
Saturday, Sept. 12 the team faced Mississippi State, again not letting the opponent gain any moment on the scoreboard (25-16, 25-14, 25-12). And for their final sweep of the weekend, the Nittany Lions took the win over Notre Dame (25-17, 25-19, 25-16).
Friday evening, sophomores Ali Frantti and Haleigh Washington and redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney shared the limelight at the top of the stat board. Washington had nine kills, Whitney had eight and Frantti closed out with seven. The stat comparison between Penn State and Eastern Kentucky isn’t too terribly different minus the 7-3 team block totals in favor of Penn State. The biggest difference was the Nittany Lions team depth– they had three players at the top of the stat board for kills while Eastern Kentucky only had freshman Celina Sanks with nine kills and the next highest kill total being junior Johanna Boyer with four.
On Saturday morning against Mississippi State, Frantti topped off the offense with 11 kills followed by senior Megan Courtney with nine kills. Washington single-handedly took care of half of the total team blocks with six while also putting up eight kills. Mississippi State’s defense had a team total of one block compared to Penn State’s 12. Needless to say the Nittany Lions’ towering offense was just too much for the Bulldogs.
Lastly, Frantti and Courtney stole the show again in the final game against Notre Dame. Each tallied 14 kills and Whitney followed with nine. Washington led the defense at net with five blocks and freshman Keeton Holcomb covered the court with 20 digs. Notre Dame fell behind on kills with a team total of 27 as Penn State nearly doubled that with a total of 45.
This weekend the Nittany Lions travel to Tampa, Fla. for their final invitational leading up to the regular season. At the South Florida Invitational, the team is scheduled to meet Auburn on Friday at 6 p.m. followed by St. John’s at 1 p.m. Saturday and finish with the University of South Florida at 7 p.m.