No. 1 Penn State Sweeps Michigan State, Ties NCAA Record

11/7/2008

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team swept Michigan State (25-20, 25-11, 25-18) Friday night in East Lansing, Mich., to tie the NCAA record for consecutive match wins. The Nittany Lions have now won 52 straight contests, equaling the total set by Southern California from Nov. 8, 2002 to Nov. 10, 2004. Penn State improves to 26-0 and 14-0 in the Big Ten, also having won 79 consecutive games, which ranks second all-time in the NCAA annals.

Three Lion players reached double-digit kills in the win, led by junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) with 15 kills on .344 hitting, sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) with 12 kills on .706 hitting and senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) with 10 kills on .474 hitting. Senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) connected on six of her errorless 10 swings to hit .600 for the evening. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .471 clip, its seventh Big Ten contest of hitting .400 or better for the match and its highest of the conference season.

Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out 40 assists as senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) produced 11 digs while Fawcett and sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) both picked up five. Penn State and Michigan State both recorded 29 digs for the match.

Both squads collected four service aces as Fawcett posted three and Holehouse added in one.

Penn State outblocked Michigan State, 9.5 to 3.0, led by Fawcett and Glass with four apiece and Wilson and Harmotto with three each.
 
Kills from Fawcett and Hodge started the first game off for the Nittany Lions, 5-3, before a Hodge kill out of the backrow and strong serving from Fawcett, including an ace, forced a Spartan timeout with Penn State up, 9-4. A Harmotto overpass kill and a block from Glass and Harmotto put the Nittany Lions ahead 14-8 and a Wilson slide kill down the line pushed the score to 16-12. Two more Wilson kills coupled with a Hodge put-away made it 20-16. Michigan State scored three of the next four points to pull within two at 21-19 but after an exchange of points, a Hodge kill out of the backrow, a Michigan State attack error and a Fawcett and Wilson block ended the set for the Nittany Lions, 25-20. Hodge led the squad with five kills as Wilson connected on four of five errorless attempts to hit .800 and help Penn State attack at a .419 clip for the stanza.

Penn State charged out of the gates to start the second set, taking the 6-0 lead behind strong Harmotto serving and kills from Wilson, Glass and Fawcett to force a Michigan State timeout. The teams traded points and after a Lion attack error, a Fawcett kill made it 8-2. A Wilson kill to put Penn State up 10-4 sparked a 9-0 Nittany Lion run encompassing strong Holehouse serving and great team defense, to put Penn State up 18-4 on a Harmotto kill. A solo Glass block extended the score to 22-8 before Penn State kills from Brown and Hodge ended the game, 25-11. Hodge led the squad with six kills as Wilson and Hodge both chipped in four kills and Holehouse picked up seven digs.

A Fawcett ace put Penn State ahead 6-3 in the third stanza before back to back Lion blocks ­ a triple effort from Fawcett, Harmotto and Glass and a double from Fawcett and Harmotto ­ gave the Lions the 11-6 advantage. Another block, this one from Wilson and Glass, pushed the lead to 13-8 and a Fawcett ace made it 15-11. Kills from Wilson, Hodge, Harmotto and Fawcett put Penn State up 19-16 and a block by Fawcett and Wilson made it 20-17 before another block, this one from Hodge, forced a Michigan State timeout with Penn State in the lead, 22-18. Nittany Lion kills from Wilson and Hodge along with a Spartan attack that sailed long gave Penn State the game, 25-18.

The Lions remain on the road next weekend, traveling to Illinois and Purdue on Nov. 14-15.

Article courtesy of Penn State athletics.

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