No. 1 Penn State Pummels Ohio State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) pounded 16 kills on .542 hitting to aid the top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team to a three-game sweep of Ohio State (25-15, 25-14, 25-12) Saturday night at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions improve to 20-0 and 8-0 in the Big Ten while the Buckeyes fall to 10-10 and 1-7 in league action.
The win gives Penn State its 20th win for the season, the 32nd consecutive 20-win season in the program's 33-year history. The only season the Nittany Lions did not reach the 20-win plateau was in 1976 when the team played just 20 total matches and finished with an overall record of 6-11-3.
"I thought we played much better tonight than last night," said head coach Russ Rose. "We served better and we had better energy. It always starts with passing and I thought Roberta played well defensively. It was a good match for us."
In addition to Fawcett's offensive output, senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) posted eight kills on nine errorless swings to hit a season-high .889. Junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) also tallied eight kills and sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) notched six kills on .455 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .416 clip, its fifth Big Ten match of hitting .400 or better.
Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) delivered 32 assists and senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) picked up a match-high 10 digs as sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) added in six digs. Penn State outdug Ohio State, 30-22.
The Nittany Lions produced five service aces, including a season-high-tying three from Fawcett and a career-high-tying two from Harmotto.
Penn State outblocked Ohio State, 10.0 to 3.0. Harmotto led the way with seven stuffs as Glass and sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) both notched three and Hodge and Wilson each tallied two.
Katie Dull led the Buckeyes with eight kills as Kaila Calhoun and Kristen Dozier both added in four.
Penn State took the 13-8 lead in the first set behind a Fawcett kill and went up 15-11 on a Wilson and Brown block. A Hodge kill, Buckeye attack error and Fawcett ace extended the lead to 19-12 before a Hodge and Harmotto block made it 21-13. Lion kills from Harmotto, Fawcett and Glass ended the game, 25-15.
Strong serving and defense from Harmotto and four consecutive Fawcett kills put the Nittany Lions up 6-3 in the second stanza. Put-aways from Fawcett, Hodge and Wilson extended the score to 14-5 before a Harmotto kill made it 18-9. The teams traded points several times, with a Hodge kill, and two blocks - one from Harmotto and Hodge and another form Harmotto and Brown - pushing the Lion lead to 24-14 before an Ohio State error ended the game, 25-14.
Penn State jumped out to the early 6-2 lead on a Harmotto kill and a Fawcett and Wilson block made it 8-4. A Harmotto and Glass block pushed the advantage to 15-7 and another stuff by the tandem made it 18-7. Kills from Hodge and Fawcett along with five Buckeye errors and a Wilson kill gave Penn State the game, 25-12.
Penn State takes to the road next weekend to face Wisconsin and Northwestern. The Nittany Lions and Badgers square off on Friday, Oct. 24 in a 7:00 p.m. CT (8:00 p.m. ET) contest that will be televised on a tape-delay basis on ESPN2 on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The Lions and Wildcats then meet on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7:00 p.m. CT in Evanston, Ill. Penn State returns home to host Minnesota and Iowa on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, at 7:00 p.m. ET both nights 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.