Sweepin’ Up the Spartans
Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney barely topped the kill charts with 12 kills, plus one dig and two blocks. Freshman Ali Frantti followed closely behind with another double-digit kill performance clocking 11 kills, two digs, one block and a team-high hitting percentage of .409.
Service line super star Micha Hancock had the match-high four aces to go along with 33 assists, four kills and five digs. Dominique Gonzalez rounded out the defense with 14 digs while freshman Haleigh Washington defended the net with a team-high three blocks.
There’s always room for improvement though… the Lions fell behind Michigan State in attacking errors, 13-17. With a young team of hitters at the net, there’s going to be some mistakes. Luckily the team made up for these errors at the service line and in blocking points– two aspects where Michigan State seemed to fall behind.
The first set staged the momentum for the rest of the match. Leading up to the final points of the set, there was a total of 15 tie scores and six lead changes. It was really just a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
The Spartans reached the set point first at 22-24 and forced Penn State into a timeout. The Lions came back in full blast with a three-point run to make the score 25-24 and Michigan State answered with a timeout. The Spartan huddle was no use and Hancock finished the game with the final kill.
This was huge for Penn State to come out with the first set win, especially with the late comeback in the game. The team held onto that momentum which carried them through the next two sets and ultimately won them the sweep.
Communication on the court and energy levels continue to get better with every game, the newcomers seem to be settling into their positions and grasping the reputation of Penn State’s program. The future is looking bright as the Nittany Lions begin their climb back up the rankings.
This win puts Penn State at 20-3 and moved them up from No. 7 to No. 6 in the AVCA coach’s poll. The team is now 8-2 in the Big Ten, which puts them just behind Wisconsin in the conference standings.
The Lions have yet another Big Ten game coming up this Tuesday, Oct. 28 in Rec Hall against Ohio State. The game starts at 8 p.m. and BTN will provide TV coverage.
Hopefully Penn State can make up for the football team’s loss to the Buckeyes on Saturday and hopefully the refs will do a bit of a better job as well.