South Florida Invitational

South Florida Invitational

Good things come in threes. Three games, three wins and three sweeps for the No. 1 Nittany Lions at the South Florida Invitational this past weekend.

I feel like I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Penn State’s dominating offense, strong defense and overall team communications makes them a tough team to compete with.

The tournament began on Friday as the Nittany Lions pushed past Auburn (25-11, 25-16, 25-19). Sophomore Haleigh Washington led the team in kills with 11 and redshirt freshman Bryanna Weiskircher steadied the team to a .444 hitting percentage while putting up 36 assists. On the defensive end, freshman Keeton Holcomb had yet another double-digit performance with 17 digs. Penn State only allowed the score to come to a tie twice during the three sets and never allowed Auburn to take the lead.

Saturday afternoon, Penn State swept St. John’s in three quick sets and dominating the stat boards (25-10, 25-18-25-19). Washington switched gears and toped the defense this match with 11 blocks and redshirt senior Aiyana Whitney took over the offense with 11 kills. Senior Megan Courtney put up 10 digs and again Weiskircher kept the team’s hitting percentage consistent while putting up 31 assists.

The Nittany Lions topped of the tournament against the host team, University of South Florida on Saturday evening (25-19, 25-6, 25-18). Instead of going through the stat leaders, the second set of this match is more impressive than the stat board. USF made for good competition in the first and third sets, coming as close to beating Penn State as any team has so far this season reaching 18-19 points. But that second set is a shocking score to look at. The Nittany Lions held USF to just six points as they carried out a 6-0 run towards the beginning of the set and then an 11-4 run to finish it off.

The South Florida Invitational concludes Penn State’s early season tournament play. The Nittany Lions are still at the top of the pack, ranked No. 1 with an 11-0 record going into regular season play.

The team kicks off conference play this Wednesday in Rec Hall against Wisconsin at 7 p.m. The game will also be televised on the Big Ten Network.