No. 1 Penn State Downs No. 6 UCLA in Hawai'i


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HONOLULU, Hawaii - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team used a balanced offense and a stellar defense to sweep No. 6 UCLA in three sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-13) Saturday night in the second match of the Hawaiian Airlines Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Nittany Lions improve to 2-0 while the Bruins fall to 1-1.

Junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led all players with 14 kills, senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) tallied 12 kills and senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) posted 11 kills on .450 hitting while sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) notched seven kills. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .276 clip while holding UCLA to hitting .096, including -.103 in the third game. The Lions also recorded 46 kills to the Bruins' 29.

Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) directed the Lion offense with 42 assists while senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) picked up 19 digs. Fawcett fell one dig shy of her career high with 15 digs as Glass, Hodge and sophomore Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) all contributed seven digs. Penn State out-dug UCLA 59 to 47.

The Nittany Lions also claimed the blocking battle, 9.0 to 5.0. Harmotto led the way with six stuffs, including three solo efforts, while Glass, Wilson, Hodge and sophomore Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) all recorded two blocks.

Penn State recorded four service aces while not allowing UCLA any, and Holehouse led the Lions with two aces as D'Errico and junior Kelsey Ream (State College, Pa.) each posted one. Freshman Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) and sophomore Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) also both saw their first action as Nittany Lions as serving specialists.

Dicey McGraw led UCLA with eight kills as Ali Daley, Amanda Gil and Nellie Spicer all recorded five kills. Spicer dished out 18 assists as Daley led the squad with 10 digs. Gil headed the blocking list with four stuffs.

UCLA started out the match on fire, going up 6-2 aided by four kills and a block. But Penn State chipped away at the deficit, with a Brown kill and Wilson and Hodge block trimming the Bruin lead to 6-4. Consecutive Hodge kills coupled with a Brown and Harmotto block pulled the Lions within one at 8-7 and the teams traded kills before a Harmotto put-away evened the score at 9-9. A Fawcett kill gave the Lions their first lead at 12-11 and an ace by Kelsey Ream, a Hodge kill and a UCLA attack error pushed Penn State ahead 15-11 heading into the television timeout. Out of the break, the teams traded points, with a Wilson slide kill following great defense by both teams putting the Lions up 16-12. But the Bruins scored four of the next five points to pull within one at 17-16. Another Hodge kill pushed the Lions up 18-16 and the squads traded points three times before a monster block by Glass and Wilson gave Penn State the 22-19 advantage and forced a UCLA timeout. Out of the break the squads traded service errors and kills, with a Hodge put-away giving the Lions the 24-21 lead. Following a Penn State error, another Hodge kill ended the game, 25-22. Hodge led the Lions with six kills while Harmotto was perfect on all five of her attacks.

The Bruins again jumped out to the early lead, going ahead 4-0 on two kills and two Lion errors. But two errors of their own aided Penn State in pulling within two at 5-3 on a Harmotto kill. The Lions chipped away, pulling within two at 8-6 on a Fawcett kill and 11-9 on a Hodge put-away. A UCLA kill and Penn State error pushed the Bruins ahead 13-9 but Harmotto responded with two kills and a solo block to pull the Lions within one at 13-12. Following another great rally by both squads, a Fawcett kill out of the backrow knotted the game at 13-13 and forced a UCLA timeout. Out of the break, another Fawcett put-away gave the Lions the 14-13 lead and a solo block and kill from Glass put Penn State ahead 16-15. The teams traded points twice before a Bruin kill and Lion error swung the score in favor of UCLA, 19-18. Hodge tied the score at 19-19 on a kill but the Bruins responded with consecutive put-aways to go ahead 21-19 and force a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, the Nittany Lions took charge as Harmotto and Fawcett pounded kills and Harmotto stuffed a dump attempt by UCLA setter Nellie Spicer to go up 22-21 and force a UCLA timeout. A Hodge kill out of the break extended the lead to 23-21 and a D'Errico cross-court ace that landed on the line pushed the score to 24-21 before a Fawcett kill set up by a great Holehouse dig ended the stanza, 25-21. Penn State ended the set on a 6-0 run after being down 21-19. Fawcett led the squad with seven kills and also recorded six digs as Harmotto tallied four kills and Holehouse racked up 11 digs.

Penn State grabbed the 4-1 lead to start the third set aided by a Harmotto and Brown block, a Holehouse ace and a Harmotto kill after another great rally by both teams. Following a UCLA timeout, continued strong serving from Holehouse helped Penn State go up 6-1 on a Hodge and Harmotto block and a Hodge overpass kill. Following a Lion attack error, kills from Hodge and Fawcett extended the score to 8-2 and consecutive Hodge kills pushed it to 10-3. The teams traded points twice before a monster Fawcett cross-court kill at the seven-foot line coupled with a UCLA attack error gave Penn State the 14-5 advantage and caused a Bruin timeout. The Nittany Lions continued to roll, going up18-7 on a Holehouse ace and 21-11 on a kill and solo block from Harmotto. A Fawcett kill extended the lead to 22-12 before two Wilson kills ended the game, 25-13.

Penn State concludes play in the Hawaiian Airlines Classic with Ohio on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 3:00 p.m. HT (9:00 p.m. ET). Livestats for the match can be found via a link at The Nittany Lions open up the 2008 home slate with Long Island on Friday, Sept. 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Rec Hall.

For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit

Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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