No. 15 Women’s Volleyball Secure Wins to Close Regular Season
It was junior Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) who helped lead the Lions to victory in a heated competition with the Wildcats on Friday evening. Frantti contributed 11 kills.
The first set started out rough for the Nittany Lions, who called a timeout after a Wildcat 4-2 run. After the timeout, it was Frantti, Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.), and Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) who helped to rally the team and secure an 18-17 lead for Penn State that would eventually turn into a 25-23 set win for the Lions.
Another difficult set arose in the second, with Northwestern running a 9-4 lead early on. Another timeout by Penn State resulted in the Lions creating a 7-3 run, putting them in position to take the lead thanks to another 5-0 run. Tori Gorrell (Oakville, Ontario) provided the kill that helped seal the deal with another 25-23 set win.
The final set of the evening showed Penn State’s dominance on the court as the Lions fired a 4-1 run to start things off. Lee and Gorrell helped bring the Lions in the lead by four at 13-9, causing Northwestern to call timeout. Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.) and Gorell provided a pair of combo blocks and defensive specialist Laura Broerman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) served the final three points. Lee notched the final point of the evening, claiming a Penn State victory, 25-16.
Saturday evening was another high-scoring game for the Fighting Illini and Penn State, with Penn State ultimately coming out victorious.
Lee was the leader in kills for the day with 20, and freshman superstar Kendall White (Indianapolis, Ind.) continued to wow the world, contributing 16 digs.
The first set was all Penn State, with Gorrell and Thelen powering the team to an early 7-point lead that quickly turned into a 25-18 set win.
The second set resulted in a tense 19-all score at one point, with Penn State needing a major play to put them ahead for good. Lee and Thelen notched back-to-back kills that pushed the Lions ahead with a 26-24 win.
The third set showed a few Nittany Lion falters, as Illinois claimed the win, 25-19.
The Fighting Illini came out strong in the fourth set, causing many Penn State fans to hold their breaths. Washington, Lee, and Frantti, the dynamic trio, helped bring the Lions to a 7-all score before raining down a pair of kills that gave Penn State a two-point edge, 15-13. It was Lee and Washington who rocketed home the final points of the game, granting Penn State a set win, 25-21, and a series sweep for the weekend.
No. 15 Penn State will now head into the first round of the NCAA tournament, with their appointment soon to be announced. Stay tuned, Nittany Nation!