No. 1 Penn State Captures 1,000th Program Win
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team became just the sixth NCAA Division I women's volleyball program to reach 1,000 wins Saturday night with a three-game sweep of Iowa (25-16, 25-13, 25-15) at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions improve to 24-0 and 12-0 in the Big Ten and increase their consecutive-match win streak to 50 matches, two shy of the NCAA record of 52 set by Southern California.
Penn State joins UCLA (1,074), Nebraska (1,048), Missouri State (1,042), Brigham Young (1,027) and Long Beach State (1,018) as the only programs in NCAA Division I women's volleyball history to reach 1,000 wins.
"I look at (reaching 1,000 program wins) as a reflection of the players throughout the years," said head coach Russ Rose. "Tonight's win was just one of many and it has the same value as those won back when Coach Tom Tait was starting the program."
Said senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), "I think it's very special because it shows the strong tradition of Penn State volleyball. It's a great feeling to contribute to the success that was started by all of the players who have come before us."
The Nittany Lion offense exploded against the Hawkeyes as the team hit for a .457 percentage, the highest mark of the Big Ten season for the squad and its sixth conference and 12th overall match of hitting .400 or better.
"We played significantly better tonight than we played last night," said Rose. "Tonight the players had more excitement, which was nice to see. The passing was good and I thought Nicole and Megan hit well from the front row and the back row. We were much sharper and the defense was good also. It was a good effort."
Fawcett unloaded for 15 kills without an error on 22 swings to hit .682 as junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) pounded 13 kills on .367 hitting. Sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) posted eight kills on .538 hitting as senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) notched six kills on .625 hitting in just over two games of action. Sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) tallied three kills in two games as freshman Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) took over in the third set and produced three kills.
Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out 43 assists and senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.), who was also honored for her 1,000th career dig prior to the match, led all players with 13 digs. Hodge picked up 12 digs for her 26th career double-double as both Fawcett and sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) provided seven digs. As a team, Penn State outdug Iowa, 52-34, its highest dig total of the conference season and its second-highest mark of the year. So far this season, the Nittany Lions have only been out-dug by one opponent (Wisconsin on Oct. 24, 30-25).
Penn State posted 9.0 team blocks to Iowa's 3.0. Harmotto led the way with five stuffs as Wilson notched four, Glass tallied three and Brown and Hodge recorded two apiece.
The Nittany Lions also dominated the serving game, racking up eight aces while not allowing the Hawkeyes any. Holehouse provided three winners as Fawcett notched two and D'Errico, sophomore Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and freshman Megan Shifflett (Falls Church, Va.) all added in one.
A Hodge kill and D'Errico ace put Penn State up 10-5 in the first set before a Wilson and Fawcett block gave the Lions the 13-9 lead. A Fawcett kill and ace pushed the cushion to five at 15-10 and a Brown kill and Hodge and Harmotto block made it 17-11. The teams traded points several times, with kills from Wilson and Brown giving Penn State the 22-15 advantage. A Brown and Wilson block and a Fawcett kill ended the game, 25-16. Fawcett posted four kills on an errorless five swings to hit .800 in the first stanza.
Two Wilson kills and a Hodge put-away opened up the second game for the Nittany Lions as a Harmotto and Hodge block extended the lead to 6-2. Penn State remained in control, going up 13-8 on a Fawcett kill and 17-12 on a Harmotto and Glass block. Three consecutive kills from Harmotto, Fawcett and Hodge pushed the score to 20-12 and a Harmotto kill and Shifflett ace sparked a 5-0 Lion run capped by a Glass and Wilson block to give Penn State the game, 25-13. Fawcett posted six kills on an errorless eight swings to hit .750 as Hodge added in five kills and six digs. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .517 clip.
Penn State kills from Hodge, Wilson and Kabbes put the squad ahead 3-1 before another Kabbes kill made it 5-2. A Fawcett kill and Harmotto and Glass block pushed the score to 9-4 as back to back Fawcett kills, a Quilico ace and a Hodge kill gave Penn State the 13-5 advantage. Lion put-aways from Wilson and Kabbes along with three Holehouse service aces in a four-point span extended the lead to 20-8. Consecutive Fawcett kills make it 23-12 before a Wilson put-away ended the set, 25-15. Hodge led the Lions with six kills as Fawcett posted five and Holehouse picked up seven digs.
Penn State remains at home for a mid-week contest with Indiana on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET that will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. The match is a "Code Blue" match for students, and fans have the chance to win great prizes throughout the evening.
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.