No. 5 Penn State downs Indiana behind double-digit kills from McClendon
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Fifth-ranked Penn State (11-2, 2-1) downed Indiana (8-6, 0-3) in consecutive sets on the road at University Gym, behind double-digit kill performances from senior Deja McClendon and sophomore Megan Courtney.
Courtney led the squad with 15 kills on 20 errorless attacks for a career-high .750 attacking percentage, while also tallying two digs and one block. McClendon registered 13 kills on a season-high .500 hitting clip, adding five digs and four blocks.
Senior Katie Slay led the team with five blocks, including one solo stop, notching five kills. Junior Micha Hancock dished out 38 assists, pacing the team to a .507 hitting percentage.
Penn State and Indiana kept it close to start the opening set, as neither team could pull away with more than a two-point advantage. Leading by two 7-5 the Nittany Lions used a 4-0 run, capped off by three consecutive kills from McClendon to move ahead by as many as six points 11-5. PSU continued to maintain a steady six-point lead 16-9 until Indiana trimmed the advantage back to four 18-14 with a 5-2 streak.
The Nittany Lions answered back with a three-point spurt helped out by a kill from Courtney and two Hoosier attacking errors. Indian didn't get any closer than six for the remainder of the set, as Penn State secured a 25-18 win in the first frame. PSU posted a .536 hitting percentage in the first stanza, helped out by seven kills from McClendon and five from Courtney.
Rallying from a four-point deficit in the second stanza, the Nittany Lions used a 4-0 streak helped out by a kill and an ace from Hancock to tie it up 10-10. Indiana managed to pull ahead with a slim lead 14-13 before Courtney knotted up the set once more 14-14. Capitalizing on three consecutive attacking errors by the Hoosiers, PSU pulled ahead with a three-point lead, 17-14, forcing IU to call a timeout.
Leading by one 18-17, Penn State delivered a 4-0 run, featuring blocks from Slay, Hancock and McClendon in between kills from Hancock and McClendon to make it 22-17. Remaining on top, Penn State closed out the frame with a kill from Scott and a solo stuff from Slay to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Following the intermission, Penn State jumped out to a 9-0 lead in Set 3, led by three aces from Hancock. The Hoosiers attempted to spark some momentum after a pair of PSU errors, but Penn State charged on, capturing a double-digit advantage 13-3 after a two kills from Courtney and an IU attack error. Leading by 10, PSU took its largest lead of the match 19-4 behind a 5-0 stretch.
Indiana looked to cut into the advantage after a Nittany Lion attacking error 19-5 but Penn State didn't allow the Hoosiers to score more than three points, powering to a 25-8 win in the third set to complete the sweep.