No. 1 Penn State Grounds Louisville to Win Chicago Classic Title


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CHICAGO, Ill. - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team claimed the Chicago Classic Championship after a three-game sweep of Louisville (25-16, 25-19, 25-20) Saturday night at Mother McAuley High School. The Nittany Lions improve to 9-0 and have yet to drop and individual set while the Cardinals fall to 3-4.

Senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) were all named to the all-tournament team.

Fawcett led all players with 16 kills on .462 hitting while Hodge chipped in 14 kills and senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) posted eight kills on .636 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .387 clip for the match.

Glass dished out 41 assists and eight digs as senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) recorded a match-high nine digs. Hodge and sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) also both picked up eight digs and Fawcett contributed seven.

Both teams tallied four blocks, with Harmotto leading the way for the Lions with three and Hodge assisting on two.

A Hodge and Wilson block helped Penn State take the 3-1 lead to start the match before consecutive Hodge and Fawcett put-aways gave the Lions the 6-3 lead. A Hodge backrow bomb off a diving Holehouse dig and a reactionary Glass set extended the lead to 8-5 before two Brown kills and a Harmotto overpass put-away made it 13-7 in favor of Penn State. The Nittany Lions continued to lead, going ahead 17-11 on consecutive Fawcett kills and 20-13 on a Fawcett kill over the block. A Wilson put-away and a Brown overpass kill made it 22-14 before a Louisville service error ended the game, 24-16. Fawcett led the Lions with seven kills on 10 swings and .600 hitting. Hodge chipped in six kills as the Lions tallied 19 of their 25 points on kills.

The second set remained close throughout, with two Hodge kills and a Fawcett put-away off the D'Errico set giving Penn State the 7-6 lead. Louisville knotted the score with a kill of its own and four ties ensued before consecutive Lion kills from Hodge and Harmotto have Penn State the 13-11 lead. The Lions retained the advantage, going up 17-15 on a Fawcett kill and 20-18 on a Hodge and Harmotto block. Out of a Cardinal timeout, Harmotto responded with a kill and followed that with a block, teaming up with Brown for the stuff to give Penn State the 22-18 lead and force another Louisville timeout. A Cardinal attack error was quickly followed by a Hodge kill off a one-armed diving Holehouse dig to give Penn State the 24-18 advantage and the teams traded service errors, with the Lions taking the game, 25-19. Hodge led Penn State with six kills and five digs as Fawcett notched four kills.

A Hodge ace and two Harmotto kills put Penn State up 5-3 in the third game and a Wilson kill made it 9-6. A Fawcett backrow kill off of great defense by D'Errico pushed the score to 13-9 but Louisville scored the next four points on an ace, a kill and two Lion errors to knot the game at 13-13. The teams exchanged points and a Penn State error and Cardinal kill gave Louisville the 16-14 lead. But two Fawcett kills, an ace by junior Kelsey Ream (State College, Pa.) and two Cardinal errors swung the momentum to Penn State to put it up 19-16. Nittany Lion kills from Wilson and Fawcett gave Penn State the 21-17 advantage and a Hodge kill made it 23-19 before a Hodge kill and a Harmotto and Glass block ended the game, 25-20.

The Nittany Lions return home to host the Penn State Classic on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19-20 with Yale, New Hampshire and Saint Louis at Rec Hall.

For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit The Penn State women's volleyball 2008 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.

Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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