No. 1 Penn State Sweeps No. 21 Wisconsin
MADISON, Wisc. - Behind a season-high-tying 17 kills on .424 hitting from senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), the top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team swept No. 21 Wisconsin (25-20, 25-16, 25-21) Friday night in Madison, Wis., in front of 6,296 people. The Nittany Lions improve to 21-0 and 9-0 in the Big Ten while the Badgers fall to 14-7 and 4-5 in conference play.
In addition to Fawcett, senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) posted 10 kills on .692 hitting, junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) recorded nine kills and sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) contributed eight kills on .667 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .340 clip while holding Wisconsin to hitting .133.
Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out 35 assists and led the team with nine digs as senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) provided eight digs.
Penn State outblocked Wisconsin, 9.0 to 5.0 led by Wilson with five and Harmotto with four.
A Harmotto and Fawcett block put Penn State up 4-3 in the first set but a Wisconsin ace and block swung the momentum to the Badgers and put them up 8-6. Wisconsin retained the slight advantage, going ahead 10-8, before a Harmotto kill and solo block along with a Hodge put-away down the line evened the score at 11-11. Three ties ensued before a Fawcett kill and a Brown and Wilson block gave the Nittany Lions the 16-14 advantage and a Fawcett kill and a Wilson overpass put-away made it 18-15. A Brown kill put Penn State up 21-17 and a Harmotto kill coupled with consecutive Badger attack errors gave the Lions the 24-19 lead before a Wisconsin service error ended the game, 25-20. Fawcett led the Lions with five kills in the stanza as Hodge added four.
A Harmotto kill knotted the score at 3-3 and the teams traded points before three consecutive Wilson kills and a Wilson solo block put Penn State ahead 7-4. After a Badger timeout, Wisconsin responded with two kills and a block to pull within one at 8-7. Another Wilson kill halted the run and a Fawcett kill made it 11-9. Following a Badger kill to pull them within one at 11-10, Penn State ran off the next five points, capped by two blocks - one from Harmotto and Glass and another from Harmotto and Hodge - to take the 16-10 lead and force a Wisconsin timeout. Out of the break the squads traded points twice before a Harmotto kill and a Fawcett and Wilson block pushed the Penn State lead to 20-12. The Badgers took three of the next four points to pull within six at 21-15 but a Fawcett kill around a single blocker pushed the Lions up 22-15. A Hodge and Wilson block made it 24-15 before a Hodge kill ended the set, 25-16. Wilson connected on five of seven errorless attempts to hit .714 in the game.
A Glass ace gave Penn State the 4-3 lead in the third game but Wisconsin recorded two kills to pull ahead, 5-4. The Badgers remained on top, going up 8-5 aided by a block and a kill and then 11-7 on a Lion error. Penn State kills from Glass and Fawcett trimmed the gap to two at 11-9 before a Fawcett kill sparked a 5-0 Penn State run to give the Lions the lead at 15-13 heading into the media timeout. A Wilson and Brown block put Penn State ahead 17-15 and a Hodge kill and Holehouse ace pushed the score to 19-16. A Harmotto kill maintained the Lion lead at 22-18 but following a Badger timeout, Wisconsin scored three of the next four points to pull within two at 23-21. Penn State responded with kills from Wilson and Fawcett to take the game, 25-21. Fawcett blasted 10 kills in the final set and hit .562.
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.