The first match came to a tie at 8-8, but Illinois broke away and held onto the lead for the rest of the match. Penn State had a few promising rallies, but it wasn’t enough to catch up; they gave up the first match 25-19. The second match seemed to carry on where the first one left off with Penn State trailing behind, but this time Penn State was able to fight back. With many kills at the net, and two crucial blocks towards the end, the Nittany Lions were back in the game. The final score was 25-23. Lots of back and forth points in the third set and lots of teeth clenching tie scores ended in another Illinois victory at 26-24.
Penn State immediately snapped into action knowing they couldn’t afford another lost match. Once they grasped the lead in the fourth match, it was all over. Wasting no time, the team went straight to the top winning by the biggest spread of the day, 25-15. In the fifth set, two penalties on Illinois handed over the momentum to Penn State. They took advantage and captured the win at 15-12.
The winning spirit carried over to Sunday afternoon as PSU took on Northwestern. They wasted no time taking the first three sets and extended their winning streak to seven games in a row. The first set consisted of two tied scores, followed by two four point streaks for the Nittany Lions, then a final breakaway win at 25-17. The next two sets began with hot starts for Penn State, Northwestern tried to hang on to glimmers of hope with few kills here and there, but not enough to do the trick. The second set score was 25-15 and the third 25-15. Nia Grant and Megan Courtney were the star killers of the match each had 11 kills. Katie Slay led the block party with 8 blocks at the net and redshirt freshman Paulina Prieto Cerame made a debut with 2 aces.
The Nittany Lions return home this week hosting No. 17 Ohio State this Wednesday, October 23rd in Rec Hall. The game starts at 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted live on ESPN3. This is also Penn State’s Dig Pink match where the crowd is encouraged to wear pink and donate to Penn State’s campaign supporting the Side-Out Foundation. Rec Hall will be pretty in pink and ready to keep PSU’s win streak going. This foundation reaches out to many volleyball teams nationwide and of all levels to help the fight against breast cancer. This beautiful cause brings all volleyball players together and encourages them to play for a bigger reason than a simple win. Go to the foundation’s website to learn more and read the story behind it’s beginning- www.side-out.org.