No. 1 Penn State Volleyball Defeats Michigan in Five Sets
Oct. 16, 2009
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - In front of a sold out crowd in Michigan's Cliff Keen Arena, the top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team secured a 3-2 (24-26, 25-8, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12) triumph against No. 11 Michigan. Tonight's match will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. ET.
Senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led the Nittany Lions with 25 kills and tied for second on the team with 11 digs. Junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) finished the night with 17 kills, while hitting a match-high .696. She also posted a team-best eight total blocks. Freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) tallied nine kills to finish tied for third on the squad with junior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.), while junior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) was second on the team with seven total blocks. Senior Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out a season-high 54 assists and had her eighth double-double of the season with 11 digs. Junior Alyssa D'Errico recorded a team-best 13 digs and one ace.
The Nittany Lions attacked at a .362 clip and held the Wolverines to a .191 hitting percentage. Penn State closed out the night with 67 kills, 63 assists, 50 digs and 17.0 total team blocks. Michigan posted 61 kills, 60 assists, only 37 digs and just 8.0 team blocks.
Despite the Wolverines taking an early 3-0 lead, Hodge put the Lions on the board tipping the ball over the net for a kill. Wilson kept the Nittany Lions going with a solo block before Michigan's Veronica Rood put the Wolverines up by two, 4-2, with a kill. The Nittany Lions continued to trail Michigan, but worked to within one point of the Wolverines on a kill by Dorton and a block by Balza. Michigan increased its lead to three, 10-7, but Penn State tied it up at 11-11 on blocks by Balza and Brown and a kill by Wilson. From there, the two squads went back forth tying the set three times before the Wolverines took a two-point lead, 16-14, at midpoint of the frame. The Nittany Lions continued to trail by two points, but a kill from Brown and a Michigan attack error would have the Lions tying the set at 19-19. Wilson would give Penn State its first lead of the set, 22-21, with a monster kill just inside the white line. However, the lead was shortlived as two PSU service errors had the Wolverines tying the set, 23-23, just moments later. A kill from Michigan's Megan Bower, a block by Rood and an ace by Courtney Fletcher secured the set for Michigan, 26-24. It was the first time Penn State lost the opening set of a match since a 23-30 first set loss to Stanford on Sept. 15, 2007.
The second set started out much different than the first as Penn State jumped out to a 6-1 lead. Brown and Balza joined forces for a block to open the set for the Lions. Brown increased PSU's momentum with a kill before Glass notched a block and Hodge three kills for the five-point advantage. Michigan's sole point came from a Penn State service error. Michigan took a timeout, but Penn State maintained control increasing its lead to eight, 9-1, and sending the Wolverines back to the bench. Despite the Wolverines notching three points, Penn State's lead grew to double-digits, 14-4, after three straight errors by Michigan. Penn State's advantage only continued to grow as the Wolverines were unable to regroup. Hodge posted three kills and Wilson one to put the Lions in position to take the second set. A Michigan error, its eighth of the set, gave Penn State a 25-8 second set win. The Nittany Lions attacked at a .722 clip in set two, while holding the Wolverines to a -0.08 attack percentage.
The two squads remained close early in the third set, but Penn State found itself ahead by three, 9-6, after kills from Hodge and Dorton. The Wolverines came within two, 10-8, but a Michigan service error and another Hodge kill kept Penn State ahead by three, 12-9. The Nittany Lions held onto at least a two-point lead until an attack error by PSU and a Lexi Zimmerman kill brought the Wolverines within one, 22-21. After a Penn State timeout, a block by Bower and Fletcher and a PSU error gave Michigan its first lead since the start of the set, 23-22. Head coach Russ Rose took a second timeout and the Lions managed to tie the set, 23-23, after a block by Balza and Glass. The Nittany Lions were unable to capitalize and a Bower kill and block by Rood and Juliana Paz earned Michigan the third set victory for a 2-1 lead in the match.
Michigan was on the board first in the fourth set, but Wilson put the Lions head by two, 7-5, after recording a kill and two blocks with and aid of Glass. The Nittany Lions surged ahead for a four-point edge, 10-6, but the Wolverines found themselves within one, 11-10, after posting two straight blocks and a PSU error. Michigan tied Penn State, 11-11, but the Lions answered with two kills each from Brown and Hodge and were soon ahead by four, 16-12. Michigan came within two, 17-15, on two kills by Paz and one from Zimmerman, but Penn State kept control and had a 20-17 lead when the Wolverines took a timeout. A kill by Balza and another form Dorton brought the score to 23-19. Paz and Rood each tallied kills for Michigan, but Hodge won the set for PSU, 25-21, with back-to-back kills.
The Nittany Lions entered a fifth set and took a 2-0 courtesy of two straight Michigan errors. Two kills from Paz tied the set, 2-2, but Penn State moved ahead by three, 5-2, after two kills form Hodge and joint block by Hodge and Wilson. After a Wolverine timeout, Hodge posted two more kills for a 7-3 advantage. However, three consecutive Michigan kills brought the Wolverines within one, 7-6. Another kill from Hodge gave Penn State some breathing room, 8-6, but kills from Paz and Fletcher and PSU error had Michigan back within one, 10-9. A powerful kill by Brown and a huge block by Balza and Hodge put Penn State up by three, 12-9, and forced Michigan to the bench. The timeout proved fruitless as Hodge put Penn State in match-point position with a kill. Hodge went on to win the set and the match with a kill.
The Nittany Lions are back in action on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Michigan State. Live stats will be available, as well as live audio via links at GoPSUsports.com.