Minnesota upsets Penn State in Minneapolis

Minnesota upsets Penn State in Minneapolis

The Nittany Lions’ final game in their four-game series on the road didn’t end on the greatest note. The tables were turned as Minnesota swept Penn State in three straight sets (23-25, 20-25, 21-25).

The AVCA coaches poll released the new rankings today where Penn State dropped from No. 1 to No. 4 and Minnesota climbed from No. 4 to No. 3.

Senior Megan Courtney led Penn State’s offense with 14 kills followed by sophomores Ali Frantti with 11 kills and rounding out the trio was Simone Lee with 10 kills. Redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney usually finds herself in the top three on the team for kills as well but fell behind a bit this week making a few more attack errors than usual. She still totaled eight kills and a team-high four blocks.

Redshirt freshman Bryanna Weiskircher and freshman Wilma Rivera tied for the top spot on defense with eight digs each.

Attack errors proved to be a pressing issue for Penn State. It kept the team from gaining momentum and handed Minnesota points. The team had three players with double digit kill performances, which you’d think would be enough for at least a set win. The timing of Penn State’s errors kept the team from gaining a big enough lead to carry into a win. The Nittany Lions also had four service errors and fell behind in blocking team totals with seven compared to the Gophers’ nine.

The loss puts the Nittany Lions at 24-3, 13-3 in the conference.

This week Penn State finally returns home to Rec Hall to take on two Big Ten teams starting with Michigan on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and then Northwestern on Saturday after the football game at 7 p.m.

Last time the Nittany Lions faced Michigan was nearly a month ago and the match was forced into five sets where Penn State rallied back for a 3-2 win in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The last matchup with Northwestern was a little over a month ago and also went to five sets but Penn State came up short in a 2-3 loss at Evanston, Illinois.

Both matches will be challenges for Penn State, especially coming off of a loss. But being back on home soil should help boost some energy.