No. 10 Women’s Volleyball Fights Hard against Top-Ranked No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 3 Minnesota

No. 10 Women’s Volleyball Fights Hard against Top-Ranked No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 3 Minnesota

No. 10 Penn State women’s volleyball (17-6, 9-3) was on the road this past weekend in Wisconsin to face two of the best teams in the nation: No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 3 Minnesota.

Friday evening proved to be an excruciatingly tough match for Penn State, who ultimately fell to the Badgers in four sets for their second straight loss.

It was Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) and Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) who yet again demonstrated their superior leadership on the court. Lee added 19 kills in this game to her already impressive set of stats.

The first set showed a back-and-forth style of play, with Penn State and Wisconsin each having a turn at the lead. It was ultimately Wisconsin who capitalized on their momentum, outscoring PSU 7-6 in the final 13 plays for a 25-16 win.

The second set was yet again a tough battle for both teams. Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) opened the set with a fire serve that allowed Penn State to keep the score at 6-6, and then 8-8. At one point, Penn State had 12-9 lead that was extended into a 15-14 lead heading into a media timeout.

After the timeout, Wisconsin came back firing on all cylinders and going on a 4-0 for their final plays to win the set, 25-18.

The third set was all Penn State, leading from the start and maintaining that lead for most of the set. Just before the media timeout, the Badgers had a 15-13 lead on Penn State, but it was Lee and Abby Detering (Mentor, Ohio) who carried the team on a 4-0 run, giving Penn State back the lead for the final time in the third set with a 25-18 victory.

The fourth set was by far the most challenging for the Nittany Lions, who were down by three in the first moments of the set until Lee helped to bring the Nittany Lions within one point of the Badgers.

However, the Badgers created a 4-0 run, and Penn State called for time as they were down 10-5. Although Penn State came back and put some points up on the board, the Badgers were too far gone to overcome, and Wisconsin took the set 25-21 and the game.

Saturday’s game was no easier against No. 3 Minnesota. Just a few weeks ago, the Nittany Lions took down Minnesota at home in Rec Hall for an epic upset.

Unfortunately, with time to stew, the Golden Gophers came out looking for blood.

Lee yet again did all she could to help the team find points, contributing 17 kills to the game while Washington and Tori Gorrell (Oakville, Ontario) each added seven.

Standout freshman libero Kendall White (Indianapolis, Ind.) added five digs per set while defensive specialist Keeton Holcomb (Bellville, Texas) added eight digs.

The first set was intense, with the set opening with a 3-3 tie. Washington soon gave Penn State the advantage, granting them a 6-4 lead. Minnesota then created its own momentum and held the lead, first 15-12, then 20-13, and finally 25-17, for a Golden Gopher victory in the first set.

The second set yet again showed dominance by Minnesota, who opened on a 4-0 run. Detering, Washington, Lee, Gorrell, and Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.) all stepped up and contributed to scoring seven points to come within three points of Minnesota’s 10-7 lead.

Penn State had to call for time when they were trailing 17-12 and then again at 22-17. Despite rallies by Thelen and Frantti, Minnesota won the set, 25-20.

Detering opened the third set with a kill, and Lee and Washington helped gain a 2-1 lead. Minneota then scored three in a row to bring the score to 4-3. Lee and Thelen then again made huge contributions, coming within one point of a Minnesota lead, 6-5.

The Golden Gophers dished out a 4-1 run, bringing the score to 15-11 in their favor.

After the media timeout, Minnesota was ready to lock it in. Despite intense plays by Penn State, Minnesota had the edge, and won the third set 25-18, also capturing the game.

Penn State returns home for what is sure to be nail-biter of a game against No. 1 Nebraska. Come on out to Rec Hall for the 8 p.m. to support your Nittany Lions for the start of this intense matchup!