UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 1-seed Penn State (30-2) advanced to the second round with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-3, 25-9) win against Binghamton (13-18). The Nittany Lions face Bowling Green on Saturday, Dec. 1. Bowling Green defeated Yale in a first round match 3-2.
The Nittany Lions had a balanced offensive attack. Junior Deja McClendon posted a match-high 12 kills with no errors in 15 attempts for a .800 hitting percentage. Sophomore Nia Grant pounded nine kills on .500 hitting and junior Ariel Scott had eight with a .571 hitting percentage. Sophomore Micha Hancock had a record-breaking night with a career-high and school record 10 aces. She also dished out 33 assists and was second on the team with six digs. Sophomore libero Dominique Gonzalez had a match-best 12 digs and Grant led the team in blocks with four.
The Nittany Lions hit an impressive .587 hitting percentage. Penn State totaled 40 kills, 12 aces, 29 digs and 6.0 team blocks. Binghamton recorded a -.075 hitting percentage with 15 kills, one ace, 16 digs and 1.0 team blocks.
The match started out close with Penn State only taking a two-point lead in the first set 7-5. The Lion lead grew to four at 9-5 after kills from Hancock and Grant, but the Bearcats moved back to within two after a PSU error and a Megan Burgess kill. Penn State took off on a 5-0 run with two kills by Scott and two from Grant for a 15-8 advantage. Despite a PSU service error, two kills and an ace had the Lions with a nine-point lead at 18-9. Binghamton took a timeout, but Penn State’s run continued with two Bearcat errors and kills from Scott and freshman Megan Courtney. The Bearcats grabbed two more points before Slay and McClendon each pounded a kill to take set one 25-11.
In set two, McClendon opened with a kill on a Binghamton serve. Up next at the service line was Hancock, who hit three aces in a row before two more McClendon kills for a 6-0 Penn State lead. After a Binghamton timeout, Scott, Grant and McClendon put down a kill apiece along with two more Hancock aces for a 12-0 advantage. Six consecutive Binghamton errors had the Lions leading 19-0 and the Bearcats used their second timeout. Hancock, having served 18 consecutive points, made it to 21 before an error turned the ball over to Binghamton. Her 21 consecutive serves was just one shy of the NCAA record. Amanda Dettman had an ace for Binghamton, but a Scott kill had Penn State with 22-2 lead. Binghamton managed one final point before a Courtney putdown and two Bearcat errors gave Penn State a 25-3 win.
Penn State had another strong start in the third frame with Hancock posting 14 serves in a row, helping Penn State to a 13-1 lead. McClendon had two kills in the run, while Scott, Grant and senior Marika Racibarskas each notching one. After a Binghamton service error, the Bearcats put down two kills in a row to be within 11 at 14-3. The teams went back and forth, but Penn State held on to its lead and was up by 13 (19-6) heading into the final stretch. Iva Partaleva pounded a kill for Binghamton before two more Hancock aces had the Lions leading 22-7. Binghamton registered a kill and a block for their final two points before McClendon and Racibarskas closed out the set with a kill each for a 25-9 win.