No. 1 Penn State claims win against No. 14 Ohio State in Big Ten contest
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Top-ranked Penn State (28-2, 18-1 Big Ten) earned a 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-14) win against No. 14 Ohio State Wednesday.
“We are appreciative of all the fans that came out [Wednesday],” head coach Russ Rose said. “I am real pleased about that. I think we played well and there really weren’t any areas that were worrisome.”
Junior Ariel Scott posted a match-high 15 kills on a .519 hitting percentage while junior Deja McClendon recorded 11. Sophomore Nia Grant put down eight kills, hitting at a .727 clip and junior Katie Slay notched seven. Sophomore Micha Hancock paced the offense with 34 assists and had three aces. Sophomore Dominique Gonzalez led the Lions with a match-high 11 digs and freshman Megan Courtney and Slay had five blocks each.
Penn State hit at a .396 clip with 47 kills, seven aces, 36 digs and 9.5 total team blocks. The Buckeyes (22-9, 13-6 Big Ten) registered a .120 hitting percentage with 26 kills, two aces, 41 digs and four team blocks.
The Nittany Lions took a 5-1 lead to start the match. Ohio State stayed within four until midway through the set when a 3-0 run had the Buckeyes within two at 12-10. Kills from Scott and McClendon moved Penn State ahead by four at 14-10. Ohio State put up a block and pounded a kill to move within two again, but a 5-0 Penn State run had the Lions with a seven-point lead at 19-12. Ohio State used both of its timeouts during the run, but they failed to slow the Nittany Lions. Kills from Grant, Scott and Slay and an ace from sophomore Lacey Fuller had the Lions nearing set point. The Buckeyes managed three more points before a service error helped Penn State to a 25-18 first-set win.
Despite the second set coming to a tie at four, back-to-back kills from Scott, a block and a Gonzalez ace had Penn State leading by four, 8-4. Ohio State called a timeout, but Penn State’s lead grew to six at 12-6. Consecutive Buckeye kills moved OSU within four, but Penn State had a five-point advantage after a Grant kill and a Hancock ace. After a Buckeye kill, the Lions embarked on a 6-0 run for a double-digit lead at 21-11. Ohio State called a timeout and managed to close the gap to eight with Penn State at set point. Junior Maddie Martin closed out set two with a kill for PSU at 25-16.
The third set started out close with the score knotted at five. A Penn State error put the Buckeyes in front at 6-5, but a 7-0 run by Penn State had the Nittany Lions with a 12-6 lead. Despite an Ohio State timeout, the Nittany Lions maintained control with at least a three-point advantage. Leading 15-12, McClendon pounded a kill sparking a 5-1 run for a 20-13 lead. The Buckeyes called a second timeout and grabbed a point on a Penn State service error. A triple block by Scott, Grant and Courtney sparked Penn State’s final run of five consecutive points to close out the set for a 25-14 victory.