A Tough Weekend for No. 13 Penn State at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge

A Tough Weekend for No. 13 Penn State at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge

After a 2-1 success at the Nittany Lion Classic a couple weeks ago, No. 13 Penn State Women’s Volleyball (2-3) headed out to Colorado to compete in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge against No. 9 Stanford and Colorado.

On Friday, Penn State served against Colorado and eventually took the game to five sets, only to lose 3-2.

Despite a close back-and-forth game, Penn State could not master Colorado on the court. It was redshirt freshman Tori Gorrell (Oakville, Ontario) who listed a career-high 14 kills and five blocks and helped keep the team alive right up to the final moments of the game.

Right from the get-go, the game was intense. The Lions struggled to gain a significant lead in the first set, and were down 10-4 in the second set due to two attacking errors by the Nittany Lions.

The entire game was a team effort, however, with significant plays by juniors Lainy Pierce (Eden, N.Y.), Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.), and Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.).


The next day, Saturday, the Lions were ready to shake off the loss and take on No.9 Stanford, who has traditionally been a top competitor of the Lions in the past.

Yet again, the game was a tough one right from the first serve of the day. No. 9 Stanford came out strong, but Penn State was right there with them for every set. Unfortunately, it was not Penn State’s day, as Stanford was able to squeeze out the winning point for every set, causing Penn State to fall in three sets, 3-0.

Penn State led in kills, 43 to Stanford’s 41. Junior Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) was a force to be reckoned with during this game, adding 12 kills to the tally. Washington contributed nine while Gorrell notched six.

The tumultuous game, which saw 16 ties and five lead changes in the first set alone, was a true test of both teams. Neither team was able to grab a definitive lead at any point, making it both a stressful and exciting game to watch.

Unfortunately, this was not Penn State’s weekend. However, the team is eager to make a comeback this coming weekend as they make the journey to Syracuse, N.Y. for the Syracuse Classic where they will take on Siena, Hofstra, and Syracuse.