Dec. 5, 2009

Courtesy of Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team advanced to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-13 25-14) sweep of Binghamton (15-16) Friday night. The Nittany Lions improved to 33-0 on the season and face the University of Pennsylvania tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. in Rec Hall.

Senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led all players with 13 kills on .545 hitting. Junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) posted 12 kills on 15 errorless swings for a .800 attack percentage. Junior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) rounded out the group with nine kills on .500 hitting. Senior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out 32 assists. She also had four kills in five attempts (.800%). Junior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) led the team with eight saves, while both junior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) and Wilson has three total blocks apiece.

Penn State attacked a .507 clip against the Bearcats. The Lions finished the night with 42 kills, 40 assists, five aces, 33 digs and 7.5 team blocks. Binghamton posted just 19 kills, 17 assists, two aces, 17 digs and 2.0 total team blocks.

Despite Binghamton's Anna Lejina posted a kill to open the match for the Bearcats, Balza answered immediately to put the Lions on the board. The Bearcats moved ahead once again after a block by Sandra DeVito and Alex Roland, but freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.), Balza and Brown teamed up for a block to tie the set at 2-2. The Nittany Lions then went on a 9-0 run with D'Errico serving two aces and Brown posting two kills. The Bearcats would post five errors before a kill from Michelle McDonough would cut off the Penn State run. Trailing 11-2, Binghamton worked to within seven, 12-5, thanks to a PSU error and two more kills from McDonough. Penn State began an 8-0 run sparked by a Glass kill for a 20-5 advantage. After a kill from Lejina, Hodge notched back-to-back kills for a 22-6 lead. The Bearcats managed just three more points before a stuff by Balza and Brown gave Penn State a 25-9 first set win.

The second set started out much like the first with the Bearcats tallying the first point and taking a 2-1 lead. However, the Nittany Lions went on an 11-2 run capped off by a monster Wilson kill for a 12-4 lead. McDonough notched a kill to give the Bearcats a chance to serve, but a service error put the ball back in PSU control. Junior Jessica Ullrich (Wheaton, Ill.) registered an ace, but McDonough fired back with a kill on the next play to give the Bearcats the ball. Another error by Binghamton sent Glass back to serve and Penn State put down two straight kills for a 17-6 lead. The Bearcats managed two straight points courtesy of a McDonough kill and PSU attack error to come within nine, 17-8. The two teams traded points until the Nittany Lions were within three points of taking the second set. Two kills from Hodge and an ace from freshman Marika Racibarskas (Chatham, N.J.) would secure the second for Penn State, 25-13.

Penn State took a 2-0 lead in the third set after back-to-back Binghamton errors. A PSU error put the Bearcats on the board, but Glass set Hodge for a kill to give Penn State a 3-1 edge. The Nittany Lions managed to hold at least a two-point lead for the first part of the frame until two consecutive Bearcat kills had Binghamton within one, 6-5. A Dorton kill kept the Bearcats at bay, but they were back within one, 8-7, after an ace by DeVito. Wilson gave the Nittany Lions some breathing room with a kill and that was the final time PSU was threatened for the remainder of the set. By midpoint of the set, Penn State had a four-point lead, 15-11, and thanks to a solo stuff from Dorton, a kill by Wilson and a Binghamton error, the Nittany Lions had increased their advantage to six, 17-11. The Lions closed out the third and final set with a 9-3 run with two straight Hodge kills capping off the win.

Penn State is back in action on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions face Penn who defeated Army in the first round, 3-0. Live stats, audio and video will be available via a link at

For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit The Penn State women's volleyball 2009 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey