No. 1 Penn State Sweeps No. 18 Purdue, Clinches Share Of The Big Ten Title
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title with a three-game sweep of No. 18 Purdue (25-20, 25-21, 25-15) Saturday night in West Lafayette, Ind. The Nittany Lions remain unbeaten in both matches and games at 28-0 and 84-0, respectively, this season and move to 16-0 in the conference with four matches remaining. The Big Ten title is the sixth consecutive for the Nittany Lions and the 12th since joining the league for the 1991 season. With one more win, Penn State will claim the title outright for the sixth straight year.
The match will air on the Big Ten Network on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) led all players with 14 kills on .409 hitting as sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) posted 10 kills on .692 hitting. Sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) and junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) both tallied nine kills as senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) notched eight kills on .778 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .412 clip for the match while holding Purdue to hitting .171.
Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) directed the Nittany Lion offense with 41 assists and added her 12th -career double-double and her first this season with a match-high 10 digs. Hodge and senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) produced eight digs each as the Nittany Lions outdug the Boilermakers, 32-14.
The blocking battle was even with each squad recording 9.0 team blocks. Harmotto, Wilson and Brown each tallied four stuffs for the Lions as Fawcett and Glass each chipped in two.
Arielle Wilson took control of the first game, scoring the first three points for the Lions on a kill, an overpass kill and a solo block, before a Glass joust kill put Penn State ahead 4-0. Three consecutive Lion kills from Fawcett, Hodge and Brown pushed the Penn State lead to 8-2 to force a Purdue timeout. The teams traded points three times out of the break before a Harmotto overpass kill gave Penn State the 12-5 lead. Lion kills from Fawcett and Glass made it 14-7 and the squads exchanged kills twice before Purdue scored five of the next six points to pull within three at 17-14. A Hodge kill out of a Lion timeout pushed the lead to four at 18-14 before Penn State kills from Harmotto and Fawcett along with a block by Glass and Wilson gave the Nittany Lions the 21-16 advantage and forced a Boilermaker timeout. The squads traded kills out of the break before a Wilson and Fawcett block pushed Penn State up 23-17. Purdue responded with a block of its own, and coupled with a Nittany Lion attack error, pulled within four at 23-19. But Wilson came back with a kill and after a Penn State error, a Purdue service error gave the Nittany Lions the game, 25-20. Wilson led the squad with eight kills on eight swings as Penn State hit .533 in the set.
A Purdue ball-handling error and kills from Fawcett and Hodge put Penn State ahead 3-0 in the second stanza and forced a Purdue timeout. Out of the break the Boilermakers came alive as they produced two blocks to help pull within one at 4-3. A Fawcett kill out of the backrow and a Harmotto put-away gave Penn State the 6-4 lead before a Lion error and another Boilermaker block tied the game at 6-6. Two Purdue errors put Penn State up 8-6 and the Lions maintained the slight lead, going up 10-7 on a Wilson kill and 12-8 on a Fawcett put-away and a Purdue attack error to cause a Boilermaker timeout. A Hodge kill put Penn State up 14-10 but Purdue fought back within one at 14-13 on a kill and an ace. A Harmotto kill, a Harmotto and Fawcett block and back to back Fawcett put-aways pushed the Lions up 18-13. The teams traded kills and another Fawcett kill and a block by Wilson and Glass made it 21-14. Following two Lion errors, a Purdue error along with a Wilson and Brown block put Penn State ahead 23-16. The teams traded points before Purdue went on a 4-0 run to pull within three at 24-21, but a Hodge kill ended the set, 25-21. Fawcett produced nine kills in the game as Harmotto and Hodge each added three.
The Boilermakers went up 3-1 in the third game behind two blocks. Penn State pulled within one at 5-4 on a Wilson kill and the teams exchanged kills before put-aways from Hodge and Fawcett, a Boilermaker attack error and a Harmotto and Brown block put Penn State ahead 9-6 and forced a Purdue timeout. Out of the break, Harmotto and Brown again teamed up for the rejection and a Holehouse ace and a Brown kill pushed Penn State up 12-6 and caused another Boilermaker timeout. Lion kills from Brown and Hodge made it 15-8 before a Harmotto kill put Penn Sate up 16-10. Another Fawcett kill sparked a 4-0 Penn State run to give the Lions the 20-11 lead. Two Brown kills and a Brown and Harmotto block pushed the score to 22-13 before kills from Harmotto and Hodge ended the game, 25-15.
Penn State returns home to host its final regular-season weekend on Nov. 21 and 22 when it welcomes Northwestern and Wisconsin to Rec Hall. On Friday the Nittany Lions and Wildcats face off at 7:00 p.m. ET before the Lions and Badgers meet on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET in a contest that will be tape-delay broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com <http://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.