No. 1 Women’s Volleyball Rockets Past First Two Rounds of NCAA Tournament
On Friday, the ladies welcomed Howard University to Rec Hall in front of a crowd of 3,200.
In a surprisingly difficult match, the Lions still prevailed 3-1 (25-10, 22-25, 25-15, 25-16).
Senior Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) paved the way as she racked up 13 kills and two digs for the team. Classmate Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) was close behind with 12 kills and six digs.
Tori Gorrell (Oakville, Ontario) was also a top performer with 11 kills for the Lions.
Abby Detering (Mentor, Ohio) and Bryanna Weiskircher (Rockford, Ill.) were their usual stellar selves and put up 28 and 16 assists, respectively.
On the defensive side of things, Kendall White (Indianapolis, Ind.) logged 18 digs, and usual offensive powerhouse Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) helped out on defense, clinching 10 digs.
The teams were very evenly matched statistically, except for the fact that Penn State, as usual, blew the other team out of the water with 11 blocks to a meager four by Howard.
The ladies barely had time to soak in their win as they knew they would be taking on Pitt the next evening.
Volleyball fans came out in droves, filling Rec Hall with 3,400 excited Penn Staters who were ready to cheer on the Blue and White to another victory.
In yet another four-set game (25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19), the Lions jumped past the Pitt Panthers to advance to regionals.
Lee was back on her offensive grind this game, logging a team-high 19 kills. Lee also added four digs and two assists. Washington and Frantti followed that up with 16 and 14 kills apiece.
Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.) also put up a solid performance with seven kills, two digs and three blocks against.
Detering and Weiskircher pulled out all the stops, contributing 31 and 28 assists, respectively.
Defensively, White yet again wowed the crowd by added 15 digs for the Lions.
Penn State bested the Panthers in every category except one: Pitt logged 61 digs to Penn State’s 55. The Lions once again swept away the competition in blocks: 17.0 to 5.0.
Penn State will play Missouri in its first game of regionals this Friday at 2 p.m. at Rec Hall. The Lions will then play the winner of Michigan State vs. Illinois on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Rec Hall. We hope to see you there!