Dec. 5, 2008


University Park, Pa. - The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team swept Long Island (25-14, 25-15, 25-15) Friday night at Rec Hall in the First Round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions improve to 33-0 while the Blackbirds end their season at 19-12. Penn State now takes on Yale on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 4:00 p.m. at Rec Hall for the right to advance to the NCAA Regional Championship next weekend at Rec Hall.

Junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) led the Lions with nine kills each, on .444 and .667 hitting, respectively. Senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) chipped in seven kills and senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto posted six as sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson notched four kills. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .371 clip while holding Long Island to hitting -.060.

Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) directed the offense with 32 assists and led the defense with eight digs. Senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa. Md.) tallied seven digs as sophomore defensive specialist Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) notched six digs. Penn State outdug Long Island, 26 to 21.

Penn State dominated the blocking game, 14.0 to 3.0. Harmotto led the way with eight stuffs as Wilson posted six, Glass tallied five, Fawcett notched four, Brown recorded three and Hodge added in two.

For Long Island, Quinn Williams led the team with a match-high 11 kills as Svetlana Simic chipped in five kills.

Penn State went up 8-2 to start the match on kills from Fawcett, Hodge and Brown, and blocks from Fawcett, Wilson and Brown. Consecutive Lion put-aways by Harmotto and Wilson made it 13-6 while back to back Hodge kills put Penn State up 17-9. Out of a Long Island timeout, two Lion blocks - one from Harmotto and Hodge and another from Harmotto and Brown - pushed the score to 19-9 before a Harmotto and Fawcett block made it 22-12. A Wilson kill and a block from Fawcett and Wilson ended the game, 25-14. Wilson and Hodge led the Lions with three kills each as Harmotto racked up four blocks.

The Nittany Lions again jumped out early, taking the 10-3 advantage on consecutive Long Island attack errors. An ace from sophomore Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) pushed the score to 13-7 and kills from Fawcett and Wilson made it 19-9. Penn State kills from Brown, Harmotto and Hodge made it 22-13 before a Hodge kill and a block from Glass and Wilson ended the game, 25-15. It was a balanced attack in the second set, with Brown posting four kills and Fawcett, Harmotto and Hodge all chipping in three kills.

A Fawcett and Harmotto block and a Fawcett kill gave Penn State the 11-5 advantage and a Hodge kill made it 15-6 before a Fawcett kill and a block from Wilson and Hodge pushed the score to 19-10. A Brown kill and Holehouse ace made it 21-11 before Hodge and Fawcett kills ended the game, 25-15. Fawcett, Brown and Hodge all notched three kills in the stanza as Harmotto added in three blocks.

The winner of the Penn State-Yale match will advance to the NCAA Regional Championship, hosted at Rec Hall next weekend, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13. Match times are 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Friday and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. The winners of each of the four regional championships advance to the NCAA Semifinals, slated for Thursday, Dec. 18 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. The NCAA National Championship match is Saturday, Dec. 20.

For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit The Penn State women's volleyball 2008 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.