Oct. 23, 2010


Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

The ninth-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team swept No. 22 Northwestern (15-6, 5-5 Big Ten), 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-18) Saturday evening at NU's Welsh-Ryan Arena. Three Nittany Lions tallied double-digit kills in the match.

Senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) and freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) led Penn State with 12 kills apiece. Senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) was the other Nittany Lion leader offensively with 10. Sophomore setter Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) paced the offense with 40 assists, while senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) had a match-high 18 digs. Senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) posted a match-high six blocks, while Brown was second on the team with five blocks, including two solo.

The Nittany Lions (17-4, 7-3 Big Ten) attacked at a .378 clip and held the Wildcats to .129. PSU recorded 46 kills, two aces, 45 digs and 10.0 total team blocks. Northwestern finished the match with 30 kills, three aces, 30 digs and 4.0 team blocks.

Penn State opened the match taking a 6-2 lead, with Brown tallying two blocks to aid the Nittany Lions. NU's Sabel Moffett tallied a kill, but PSU went on a 5-1 run for an 11-4 advantage. A PSU service error and a Wildcat block cut the gap to five, 11-6. Two straight Nittany Lions kills increased Penn State's lead to seven, 13-6. Two kills by Naomi Johnson sandwiched a Brown putdown to bring the score to 14-8 in favor of the Nittany Lions before a 3-0 Nittany Lion run had Penn State ahead by nine, 17-8. McClendon was responsible for two of PSU's points in the run. Two PSU attack errors brought the Wildcats within seven, 19-12, but back-to-back kills, one each from freshman Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Wilson, pushed PSU back up by nine, 21-12. A 3-0 Northwestern run put the Wildcats within six, 21-15. A dual block by Wilson and Scott, a Wilson kill and an NU attack error put Penn State in set point position, 24-16. NU held of the inevitable with a joint stuff and a kill by Stephanie Holthus before McClendon closed out the set for Penn State with a kill, 25-18.

The Nittany Lions took a 3-1 lead to start set two, but a small 3-1 NU run had the score tied at 4-4. The score tied twice more before a Balza kill and a dual block by Brown and a Balza gave Penn State a two-point edge, 8-6. The Nittany Lions held on to at least a two-point lead until midway through the frame when another 3-0 run put Penn State ahead by four, 15-11, and forced a Wildcat timeout. Moffett tallied a kill after the break, but an NU service error, a McClendon putdown and a Wildcat attack error had PSU ahead by six, 18-12. Another McClendon kill sent the Wildcats back to the bench. The teams went back and forth until a Brown kill and a Northwestern attack error had Penn State at set point, 24-15. Northwestern held the Nittany Lions at set point, tallying two kills and a block. Brown secured set two for PSU with a kill, 25-18.

Penn State jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the third stanza. Brown had three kills, while McClendon and Balza each had one to give Penn State the early lead. Northwestern cut the lead to two, 10-8, but kills by Carpenter and McClendon moved Penn State ahead by four, 13-9. A PSU attack error had the Wildcats within three, but an NU service error and a solo stuff by Brown had Penn State leading 15-10. After a Northwestern timeout, Moffett pounded a kill for the Wildcats to put NU within four, 15-11. McClendon fired back with a kill before a Northwestern service error and a Wilson kill gave the Nittany Lions a six-point lead, 19-13. Penn State maintained control for the remainder of the set to win 25-17. Balza joined forces with McClendon and Carpenter for two blocks in the final stretch.