Let the Big Ten Play Begin

Let the Big Ten Play Begin

The competition continues to look slim for the No. 1 Nittany Lions this year as they pummeled through No. 16 Wisconsin on Wednesday evening. They finished off the Badgers in a straight set (25-21, 25-16,25-20) to tack on the first Big Ten win of the season.

Sophomores Ali Frantti and Haleigh Washington, senior Megan Courtney and redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney all had double-digit kill performances­­– Frantti with 14, Courtney with 11 and Washington and Whitney with 10 each. Redshirt freshman Bryanna Weiskircher kept the offense steady with a career-high of 43 assists.

The fact that Wisconsin kept the match scores pretty close says something about its defense with an offensive performance like this one on the other side of the net.

The first set began with a few back and forth points then came to an even 9-9. Wisconsin went on a 3-0 run followed by two errors and put Penn State down by one, 12-11. A Nittany Lion error and a Wisconsin kill put the Badgers back up 14-12, but not for long. Whitney and Frantti answered with back-to-back points and tied it up at 14-14. Wisconsin responded with one more point before a media timeout.

The rest unrivaled from there… After the timeout Penn State went on a 4-0 run and forced a timeout leading the score 18-15. The two teams exchange a point each and the Badgers used their final timeout. They kept on pushing to keep the score within two points until Penn State halted them at 21. At 23-21, Penn State called a timeout that led to kills from Frantti and Whitney and a win in the opening set, 25-21.

Penn State gained the momentum and carried it into the second set. This set accounted for 14 kills for Penn State and only three errors to make up a .458 hitting percentage—the highest of all three sets. The Badgers put up a total of nine kills and six errors, which made for their worst hitting percentage of the three sets at .111. The combination led to a big 25-16 win for the Nittany Lions.

Wisconsin came back from its off game and worked its way to a 10-10 tie in the third set. The two teams went back and forth to reach a 15-12 Penn State advantage going into the media timeout.

The Nittany Lions returned with a 5-3 run and prompted a Badger timeout. The halt in momentum caused a Penn State error but quickly regained the five-point lead with a kill from Whitney. The Badgers again interrupted with a point but Courtney answered with sparking a 3-1 run to get to the set point, 24-19. Wisconsin held off for two more points and Frantti finished the game with a kill, 25-20.

Another Big Ten matchup is set to take place in Rec Hall at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26 against No. 21 Minnesota.