No. 1 Penn State Makes NCAA History, Defeats No. 20 Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team has accomplished something no other team in the history of NCAA women's collegiate volleyball - in any division - has ever done: win every individual game of the regular season. The Nittany Lions defeated No. 20 Michigan in three games (25-22, 25-18, 25-13) Saturday night in Ann Arbor, Mich., to improve to 32-0 overall. Penn State also claimed its NCAA-record 58th consecutive match victory, its 97th straight individual game victory, its 45th consecutive Big Ten win and its second straight undefeated Big Ten season at 20-0, its fifth undefeated conference season since joining the league for the 1991 season.
Junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led all players with a season-high 18 kills on .536 hitting as senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) posted nine kills, sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) tallied eight kills on an errorless 13 swings to hit .615 and sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) notched seven kills on .500 hitting. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .471 clip, a mark that ties its high in the Big Ten.
Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out 40 assists and added three kills on an errorless four attempts with eight digs. Senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) led the Lions with a match-high 14 digs as both Hodge and Fawcett contributed five digs and sophomore Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) tallied four. As a team, Penn State outdug Michigan, 38-30.
The Nittany Lions recorded 7.0 team blocks, led by Wilson and Brown with four each and two from Glass and senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.), who also contributed four kills on nine swings.
Four ties started off the first game before a Wilson kill and a Wilson and Brown block gave Penn State the 7-5 lead. Michigan fought back to knot the score at 8-8 on two kills and a block before a Fawcett kill broke the stalemate. A Lion error again evened the score and two more ties occurred before two Hodge kills, a Harmotto and Glass block and a D'Errico ace put Penn State up 15-11. Out of the television timeout, Michigan rattled off three kills and a block to tie the game at 15-15. A Hodge kill ended the run but the Wolverines posted two more kills to take the 17-16 lead. A Glass kill tied the game at 17-17 and a Glass and Wilson block along with a Wilson slide kill put Penn State up 19-17. A Michigan kill out of a timeout pulled the Wolverines within one but a monster Fawcett cross-court kill made the Lion cushion two at 20-18. The squads exchanged errors before a Wilson kill out of the middle and a Michigan attack into the antenna put Penn State ahead 23-19. Out of a timeout, two Wolverine kills trimmed the Lion lead to two at 23-21 but a Wilson kill made it 24-21, and following a Michigan put-away, a Hodge kill gave Penn State the game, 25-22.
Penn State kills from Hodge and Glass put Penn State ahead 6-4 in the second set and consecutive put-aways from Wilson and Fawcett pushed the score to 8-5. Michigan pulled back within one at 8-7 with a kill and an ace before a Wolverine service error, a Brown kill following two Holehouse digs, and a Michigan attack error put Penn State up 11-7. A huge Brown and Wilson block was quickly followed by a monster Brown kill to push the Lion lead to 13-7. The teams traded kills before two Penn State errors brought Michigan within four at 14-10, but the Wolverines handed back an attack error of their own, and coupled with a Harmotto slide kill, Penn State went up 16-10 and forced Michigan's second timeout of the game. Following a Wolverine kill and ace, Hodge provided a kill to give Penn State the 17-12 lead and Lion kills from Fawcett and Wilson made it 19-14. A Fawcett put-away and consecutive Hodge kills gave Penn State the 23-17 advantage before a Hodge kill and another D'Errico ace ended the game, 25-18.
Two Hodge kills and a solo Brown block aided the Lions in taking the 4-1 lead to start the third game and a Harmotto kill put Penn State up 5-3. An ace from junior Kelsey Ream (State College, Pa.) along with a Fawcett kill made it 8-5 and a huge block from Hodge and Wilson pushed the score to 11-7. A Brown kill along with a Brown and Harmotto block and a Hodge overpass kill gave Penn State the 15-8 advantage. A Michigan ball-handling error and a Hodge kill gave the Lions the 19-10 lead before a Hodge kill made it 21-11, a Fawcett put-away pushed the score to 23-12 before another Fawcett hammer ended the game, 25-13.
The Nittany Lions now await the NCAA Tournament selection show, which airs live on ESPNU on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 10:00 p.m. ET. Seedings, pairings and host sites for the NCAA?Tournament First and Second Rounds will be announced on the half-hour broadcast.
Penn State and Rec Hall will be one of four pre-selected sites for the NCAA Regional Championships, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13. Match times are 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Friday and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The winners of each of the four regional championships advance to the NCAA Semifinals, slated for Thursday, Dec. 18 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. The NCAA?National Championship match is Saturday, Dec. 20.
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.