No. 1 Penn State Buries No. 13 Minnesota, 3-0
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team used a balanced effort to sweep No. 13 Minnesota (25-19, 25-17, 25-17) Friday night at Rec Hall. Three players with double-digit kills helped the Lions improve to 23-0 and 11-0 in the Big Ten. The win also gives Penn State 999 wins in program history and the Lions will try for win 1,000 tomorrow against Iowa at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall.
"It was a nice match to see Blair and Megan have a good night, and to see Christa continue to play at a high level," said head coach Russ Rose. "We never really had a flow on our side of the net, so you have to feel good about getting a win over the number two team in our conference."
Senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) led all players with 12 kills and junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) posted 11 kills on .476 hitting. Sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) fell just shy of her season high with 10 kills on .421 hitting and senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) posted seven kills on .600 hitting. The Nittany Lions attacked at a .348 clip for the contest.
Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) directed the offense with 37 assists and senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) posted a match-high 14 digs and the team's two service aces. Hodge posted six digs and Glass chipped in two as the Nittany Lions out-dug the conference-dig-leading Golden Gophers, 37-29.
Penn State also claimed the blocking battle, 9.0 to 5.0. Harmotto led the way with a match-high five stuffs as sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) notched four put-backs and Brown and Fawcett added in three blocks each.
Lauren Gibbemeyer provided eight kills for Minnesota (18-5, 8-3 Big Ten) and Brook Dieter chipped in six. Rachel Hartmann dished out 23 assists and Dieter led the defense with nine digs as libero Christine Tan picked up eight digs. Dieter and Ariana Filho both tallied three blocks to lead the Gophers.
The Nittany Lions went up 10-6 in the first stanza on kills from Brown and Hodge and a solo Harmotto stuff. The teams traded points twice before a Fawcett kill gave Penn State the 13-10 lead and a Glass put-away made it 16-12. But Minnesota claimed five of the next six points to tie the game at 17-17, capped by a Hartmann ace. A Gopher service error out of a Lion timeout put Penn State up 18-17 and the Lions scored the next six points on a Harmotto and Hodge block, two Holehouse aces, a Brown kill, a Harmotto and Brown block and a Gopher attack error to put Penn State ahead 24-17. A Harmotto kill gave the Nittany Lions the game, 25-19. Fawcett, Harmotto, Brown and Hodge all posted three kills in the set.
Penn State came out in the second game on fire, going ahead 7-3 on a Harmotto kill and consecutive Hodge put-aways. A Harmotto and Fawcett block made it 11-7 and another Lion block, this one from Wilson and Brown, pushed the score to 13-8. Back to back kills by Brown and Hodge made it 15-10 and the teams exchanged points five times before three straight kills from Wilson, Brown and Fawcett made it 23-15. A Minnesota service error gave Penn State the game, 25-17. Hodge posted six kills on an errorless eight swings to hit .750.
The third set remained close early on, with a Fawcett and Wilson block and kills from Fawcett and Hodge putting the Nittany Lions up 8-4. The Golden Gophers fought back to pull within one at 10-9 on a Hartmann kill but the Lions responded with kills from Fawcett and Brown to extend the score to 12-9. Penn State maintained the three-point lead at 16-13 on a Fawcett kill and two Fawcett kills and a solo Wilson stuff made it 21-14. A Brown put-away extended the Lion lead to 23-17 before another Brown kill ended the game, 25-17. Fawcett recorded six kills in the stanza as Holehouse picked up six digs.
Penn State remains at home, hosting Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2008 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.
Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.