Sept. 11, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The top-ranked Penn State women’s volleyball (7-0) defeated No. 4 Florida (5-1) 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-23) on Friday in front of 6,022 fans in Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Penn State’s record-breaking winning streak increased to 109 consecutive matches.
Three Nittany Lions tallied double-digit kills, including freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) with 18, senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) with 16 and senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) with 11. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 41 assists and was third on the team with 12 digs. Brown led the team in digs with a career-high 21 and senior libero Alyssa D’Errico (Byron, N.Y.) finished the night with 15 and also tallied a team-best four aces. Wilson led the team in blocking with nine total.
Penn State registered a .293 attack percentage and totaled 57 kills, 52 assists, six aces, 66 digs and 10.5 total team blocks. The Gators were not far behind finishing the match with a .231 attack percentage and 51 kills. Florida also posted 46 assists, seven aces, 57 digs and 9.0 team blocks.
The Gators grabbed a 5-2 lead to start set one, but the Nittany Lions used a 4-0 run to take a slim 6-5 lead. Junior Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) tallied back-to-back kills and Brown and Wilson joined forces for a block. Florida answered with a 5-0 run to take a 10-6 lead. The Nittany Lions worked to within two, 11-9, but Florida used a Kelly Murphy kill and a service ace to go back up by four, 13-9. Kills from McClendon and Brown and a Florida service error put the Lions within one of tying the set, 14-13, but it wasn’t until Kabbes put down two straight kills that PSU tied the set at 17-17. After a Gator timeout, Florida embarked on a 4-0 run for a 21-17 advantage. Wilson and Brown pounded a kill apiece before the Gators closed out set one with a kill by Lauren Bledsoe for a 25-20 win.
Wilson and Kabbes put the Lions in the board first in set two. Penn State would hold the lead for the entirety of the set. The Gators kept it close, but Brown and McClendon each posted a kill to keep Penn State in the lead, 6-3. PSU’s lead grew to four, 9-5, after another kill from Brown, a McClendon ace and Florida service error. A 3-0 run by the Gators had Florida within one, 10-9, but Penn State responded with a 4-0 run of its own to grab a 14-10 lead. The Lions’ lead was shortlived as the Gators notched four points in a row to tie the set at 15-15. Florida was unable to keep its momentum going and McClendon and Brown combined for three points to put PSU back in front, 18-15, and force the Gators to their bench. Penn State grabbed the first point after the timeout on a Florida attack error. The Nittany Lions held on to at least a three-point lead until Florida’s Lauren Bledsoe put down a kill to put the Gators within two, 23-21. However, Wilson and McClendon each registered a kill to give Penn State a 25-21 second set win.
Penn State jumped out to a 5-2 lead in set three, but three straight Murphy kills had the score knotted at 5-5. The score tied once more at 6-6, but a Gator service error and a kill by freshman Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) put the Lions back in front, 8-6, and they never looked back. Two straight Florida errors sparked a 6-0 run by PSU for a 15-8 lead. D’Errico had two aces in the run. The Gators came within five, 15-10, but a 3-0 run by PSU with kills from Kabbes and Wilson had Penn State ahead by eight, 18-10. The Gators came within seven on two occasions, but Penn State’s lead only continued to grow. McClendon and Brown continued with their offensive onslaught and put PSU within two points of taking the set, 23-13. A Penn State service error was the final point for Florida as the Gators registered a service error of their own before Brown and Slay put up a huge block for a convincing 25-14 third set victory.
The Nittany Lions took a 3-1 lead to open the fourth set, but the Gators came back to tie it up at 4-4. The score tied twice more before Penn State took off on a 7-0 tear for a 13-6 lead. Penn State maintained control and was still ahead by five, 15-10, by midway through the set. The Gators began to gain some momentum after a stuff by Murphy and teammate Cassandra Anderson. Florida had a 7-1 run to come within one, 17-16, and force a PSU timeout. Despite a Murphy kill after the break, Penn State posted three straight points for a 20-17 lead. Florida called a timeout, but two errors and a kill from senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) had the Lions up by six, 23-17. A PSU service error made it 23-18 in favor of the Nittany Lions. A McClendon kill put the Lions in match-point position, however the Gators registered five consecutive points and trailed the Lions by one, 24-23. Brown closed out the set with a kill for a 25-23 fourth set triumph.