Penn State 3, Binghamton 0Dec. 2, 2005

University Park, Pa. -- The second-ranked Penn State womens volleyball team needed only an hour and 11 minutes to take down Binghamton in three games (30-15, 30-8, 30-10) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions improve to 30-2 while the Bearcats end their season at 20-12. Penn State will take on Long Island in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Rec Hall on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. The Blackbirds downed Cornell in three games (31-29, 30-24, 35-33) in the first match on Friday.

Binghamtons eight points in the second game equals the lowest score Penn State has held an opponent to during the rally scoring era. The Nittany Lions held Northwestern to eight points on Nov. 12, 2004. The win also gives Penn State 30 wins for the year, the Lions 18th 30-win season under head coach Russ Rose and their first since the 2003 season.

I thought tonights match was a match that you dont have as much of an opportunity to see where you are because we were just at a higher level physically, said Rose. It was a tough match to get a flow going offensively. I thought Nicole [Fawcett] took some big swings and Kaleena [Walters] did nice job ball handling. Its a tough match-up for a team in its first tournament appearance to play against a team thats so much more physical at this stage.

Freshman outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) exploded in her first career NCAA Tournament match, ripping 18 kills without an error on 25 attempts to hit a career-high .720. Junior Cassy Salyer (Aurora, Colo.) posted 11 kills on .471 hitting as sophomore Kate Price (Fraser, Mich.) chipped in 10 kills on .350 hitting. Freshman Laura Holloway (Barrington, Ill.) tallied seven kills on .400 hitting as sophomore Melissa Walbridge (Yardley, Pa.) notched six kills.

Senior setter Sam Tortorello (Shorewood, Ill.) dished out 45 assists and move to within just 38 assists of becoming the Big Ten career leader. Senior libero Kaleena Walters (Mt. Lebanon, Pa.) recorded a match-high 17 digs as Price posted her second double-double of the season with 10 digs. Fawcett, Tortorello and junior Kris Brown (Wooster, Ohio) all recorded eight digs in the win.

Penn State dominated from behind the service line, recording nine aces while not allowing Binghamton any. Price and freshman Joanie Guman (Allentown, Pa.) each tallied two winners, a career-high for Guman, as Fawcett, Walbridge, Tortorello, Brown and junior Ashley Fidler (Wauconda, Ill.) each notched one.

The Nittany Lions outblocked the Bearcats, 8.0 to 7.0, led by Tortorello with four and two each from Fawcett, Walbridge, Salyer and senior Kim Holm (St. Charles, Ill.).

Binghamton was led by Katie Brody with seven kills and eight digs as Brody and Megan Hoag each posted four blocks.

Two kills from Salyer and one each from Fawcett put Penn State up 9-3 to start the match. Out of a Binghamton timeout, the Nittany Lions used an 8-1 run to take the 17-4 lead as back to back Walbridge kills made the score 22-6. Back to back Binghamton blocks brought the Bearcats to within 26-14 but a Salyer kill and two Fawcett putaways ended the game, 30-15. Fawcett recorded seven kills on .700 hitting in the stanza as Walters racked up nine digs.

Three Walbridge kills sparked the Lions into jumping out to the 15-3 lead in the second game. Three consecutive Holloway kills made it 20-3 before back to back Price putaways pushed the advantage to 23-5 before kills from Salyer and Fawcett ended the game, 30-8. Holloway led all players with five kills on .714 hitting as Price, Fawcett and Walbridge each posted four on an errorless six swings. As a team, Penn State hit .633 (20-1-30) for the stanza.

Penn State took the 8-5 lead on a Fawcett kill, sparking a 15-0 Nittany Lion run to make it 22-5. Within the run, five Fawcett kills and strong serving from Price and sophomore Kara Callahan (Bloomington, Ill.) aided Penn State. Kills from Fidler and Salyer pushed the Lion lead to 26-8 as three Salyer kills ended the match, 30-10.

The winner of the Penn State-Long Island match on Saturday will face the winner of the Tennessee-Minnesota match next Friday, Dec. 9, in the NCAA Regional Semifinal match at Rec Hall. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

For more information on the Penn State womens volleyball team, please visit

NCAA Volleyball Postgame Quotes

Binghamton coach Glenn Kiriyama

On the match & I thought our ball club had a great year. There wasnt much expected of them at the beginning but they have proven a lot of people wrong just to get this far. We are honored just to play Penn State, theyre one of the best teams in the country. We were just up against a great team tonight.

Thoughts about preparation for Penn State& Its tough because they have some hitters that do things that we have never seen in our conference. Its tough to line up on defense until they see it first-hand. We tried to prepare the same way that we prepared most of the season.

Thoughts on progress of program& This program has come a long was in its five years as an NCAA Division I program. We are working every year on getting better. We have everyone back next year so were hoping we can build and continue to get better each year.

Binghamton junior outside hitter Katie Brody

On playing in the tournament& It was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to play against a team that good. I dont think we saw one hitter [before tonight] that hit the 10-foot line as hard as any of their players did. We had a lot of fun and it was a good learning experience.

Binghamton freshman libero Jaclyn Strader

Thoughts on tracking Penn States shots & It was very difficult, especially Nicole [Fawcett]. She has so many shots its hard to know exactly where shes going.

On frustrated looks & Thats me all the time but tonight I didnt get that many digs. It was just hard.

Binghamton junior setter Ashley Meffert

On Penn States blocking & It was hard for me because it didnt seem like I could get the ball off the net enough. I know a good block happens when the ball is tight so there were times when I knew it was my fault.

NCAA Volleyball Postgame Quotes Binghamton vs. Penn State (Dec. 2, 2005)

Penn State Head Coach Russ Rose

Opening Statement& I thought tonights match was a match that you dont have as much of an opportunity to see where you are because we were just at a higher level physically than Binghamton. It was a tough match to get a flow going offensively. I thought Nicole [Fawcett] took some big swings and Kaleena [Walters] did nice job ball handling. Its a tough match-up for a team in its first tournament appearance to play against a team thats so much more physical at this stage.

On Binghamton& Binghamton had a terrific season. For them to get into the tournament, thats whats exciting for them. They can come in and have fun. They outblocked us in the first game. I dont have to pretend that we played great in some areas where we didnt play great. I also know that its a challenge sometimes to play well against a team thats not going to be able to mount an attack like were used to seeing.

On Long Island, Penn States next opponent& I thought Long Island played really hard [tonight]. They have a number of European players and they always play the game a little different than they practice. They play hard and take big swings. Theyre usually a little older than the average player so theyre a little smarter and can conserve their energy a little bit better. Well have to play better than we did today [against them] and hopefully that will happen.

Penn State Freshman Outside Hitter, Nicole Fawcett

On staying focused during tonights match& There were times when our focus broke down, but thats not the intent obviously. It gets tougher and tougher as we get further into the tournament so we just have to step up our focus and level of play.

On her play tonight& I just wanted to work on different shots and I was able to do that. Whenever you can have a variety of different shots its always good.

Penn State Senior Setter, Sam Tortorello

On the Penn State offense tonight& I dont necessarily think I held back, I just dont think I needed to have as many different options that I usually do to beat a team that maybe has a bigger block. I think we just kept it very basic tonight and it will differ with each game in the tournament depending on what teams we play.

On her senior year in the NCAA Tournament& All the NCAA tournaments Ive played in, theres always been motivation but knowing this is my last one I think makes me strive a little harder. Hopefully the team will follow and get after it.

-- Courtesy Penn St.