One Game at a Time
That’s right, two games and two wins for the Penn State women’s volleyball team. The Lions kick started postseason play with wins over Sienna and Dayton in the NCAA first and second rounds of play.
First the team swept Sienna on Friday night (25-17, 25-10, 25-5). The win highlighted each player offensively with a pretty even spread of kills amongst the starting players.
Of course there’s always those top three killers who steal the show. At the top of the list against Siena was freshman Haleigh Washington with nine kills out of 10 attempts. Oh, and she had no hitting errors. Calculate that all together and yes, she had a hitting percentage of a near perfect .900.
Behind Washington’s stellar performance was redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney with eight kills, two blocks and two digs. Senior Nia Grant finished third with six kills, three blocks and two digs.
The Nittany Lions never showed signs of slowing down as they climbed higher and higher on the scoreboard and kept a lead throughout the entire match. Penn State’s fast-pace offense was too much for Sienna to handle, especially by the third game when the Saints clung to life at their five-point stand still.
Moving into Saturday, Dayton University made its way to University Park to take on the Nittany Lions in the NCAA second rounds. Dayton was coming from a 3-1 victory over American University.
Penn State once again managed a 3-0 sweep to secure a spot in the NCAA regional semi-finals (25-20, 25-18, 25-16). Dayton put up a good fight with solid defense and decent kill totals, but failed to keep up a good rhythm. The Flyers’ errors gave Penn State the opportunity to strike.
Megan Courtney led the team with 11 kills, six digs and two solo blocks. Washington followed her with nine kills and one dig and fellow freshman Ali Frantti also tallied nine kills, one ace, four digs and one block.
Two down and four to go… The Nittany Lions head to Louisville, Ky. for their first regional semi-final game against No. 12 UCLA.
The Bruins swept Long Beach State on Saturday in their second round of play. Senior outside hitter Karsta Lowe tallied 24 kills against Long Beach and averages a hitting percentage of .303 for the season. Long story short, the Lions’ defense should keep an eye out for Lowe at the net.
The match begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12 and will be televised on ESPN3. The winner will then play again on Saturday against the winner of the Ohio State v. Wisconsin match.
Four games away— may the odds be ever in the Lion’s favor.