UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 9 Penn State (14-5, 7-2 Big Ten) earned a 3-0 (28-26, 25-18, 25-15) victory against No. 23 Ohio State (14-8, 4-5 Big Ten) in a midweek matchup at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions used a balanced offense utilizing five different hitters to defeat the Buckeyes. Freshman Nia Grant led the lions with nine kills in 11 errorless swings for a .818 attack percentage. Sophomore Katie Slay also had nine kills, while her classmate Ariel Scott was second on the team with eight. Sophomores Deja McClendon and Maddie Martin each had seven kills. Freshman Micha Hancock paced the offense with 32 assists and was second on the team with six digs. Sophomore Ali Longo led the Lions with nine digs, while Slay had a match-high eight total blocks.
The Nittany Lions hit .389 against the Buckeyes and totaled 45 kills, three aces, 29 digs and 10.0 team blocks. Ohio State finished the night hitting .225 with 37 kills, one ace, 31 digs and 5.5 team blocks.
No. 1 Illinois 3, Northwestern 0
EVANSTON, Ill. — No. 1 Illinois won in consecutive sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-19) gainst Northwestern in Evanston. The Illini improved to 20-0.
Colleen Ward posted the third 20-20 performance by an Illinois player this year, but to do so in three sets makes that performance even more impressive. Ward had 20 kills and 20 digs while hitting .283 as Illinois fought off rallies in each set by the Wildcats (10-10, 1-8). The Wildcats out-blocked the Illini 12-10.5, but Illinois came through with the block when it needed to as Erin Johnson and Anna Dorn had six blocks apiece for the Illini. The match was a defensive battle with Illinois out-digging the Wildcats, 70-55. Jennifer Beltran (17 digs), Michelle Bartsch (16 digs) and Annie Luhrsen (10 digs) backed up Ward’s great defensive effort.
“We like to play a high level defensive match,” Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly said. “They challenged us on defense and we had to match that.”
No. 4 Nebraksa 3, Iowa 0
LINCOLN, Neb. — No. 4 Nebraska (16-1, 9-0) made quick work of Iowa on Wednesday night, sweeping the Hawkeyes 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-11). With the victory, Nebraska remained undefeated in conference play.
Iowa hit .000 for the match, marking the lowest hitting percentage the Huskers have held an opponent to this season. Nebraska out-blocked the Hawkeyes 8-0, while notching a .302 hitting percentage for the match. Nebraska also out-dug Iowa 63-45 and out-blocked the Hawkeyes 8-1.
Gina Mancuso led the Huskers on the night with 14 kills on 29 swings (.345), while Hannah Werth tabbed eight kills of her own. Lauren Cook tallied 32 assists with a season-high 16 digs. Werth had 15 digs, while Lara Dykstra totaled 14. The Huskers also notched five blocks each from Hayley Thramer and Morgan Broekhuis.
No. 10 Texas 3, Baylor 1
WACO, Texas — No. 10 Texas extended its winning streak to five matches with its 3-1 victory at Baylor, Wednesday. The 25-16, 16-25, 25-15, 25-19 victory improved the Longhorns to 13-4 on the season and 6-1 in Big 12 action, while the Bears dropped to 15-8 overall and 4-4 in league play.
Senior All-America middle blocker Rachael Adams shined for the Longhorns, hammering out 13 kills on .500 hitting, while freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman hit .387 and led all Horns with 15 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster joined them in double-digits with 14 kills and sophomore setter Hannah Allison posted an assist/dig double-double with 43 assists and 10 digs.