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NCAA.com | September 13, 2014

Fighting Lions

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- No. 3 Penn State women's volleyball (5-1) rallied from behind to defeat American (5-3) in four sets (26-24, 25-8, 25-14, 25-16) Friday afternoon at the Pavilion. 

The victory is the Nittany Lions first of the Villanova Classic and is followed by a matchup against the tournament host Wildcats.

Freshman Ali Frantti led the offense with her third consecutive double-digit kill performance, tallying 12 kills, three digs and two blocks. Senior Nia Grant also notched double-digit kills, putting down a season-high 10 kills on a team-high .571 hitting clip. She also added five blocks and tied for first on the squad with five blocks. Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney posted a career-high mark, finishing tied for first on the team with five blocks, while also adding eight kills. 

Senior Micha Hancock turned in an impressive performance from the service line, tallying a season-high eight aces, while also contributing five kills, four digs and two blocks. 

A 9-1 run in the first set gave American a 15-10 advantage over the defending national champions, and the Eagles remained on top, leading 24-20 late in the set. Although Penn State scored four straight points to tie the set at 24-24, a kill by Sarah Katz and an attacking error by the Nittany Lions gave American the win.

Katz led the way for American in the first set with five kills, as the team hit .273. Meanwhile, Penn State committed nine attack errors in the set, hitting just .098.

Penn State turned things around in the second set, improving its attack percentage to .600, while scoring five service aces. The Nittany Lions closed out the set on a 13-2 run, as AU recorded just four kills in the set. Meanwhile, attacking errors doomed the Eagles in the third set, as they registered a negative attack percentage.

In the final set, Penn State got out to an 8-1 lead and retained its advantage throughout. Again, the Nittany Lions took advantage of its strong serving, recording six service aces.

“Our players knew we were ready for a tough competition with last year’s national champion, so I was pleased our team stayed strong and remained patient throughout the first set,” American head coach Barry Goldberg said. “Our attacking was consistent in set one, as we found a way to make plays at the end and win. Unfortunately, we failed to regain this momentum as [Penn State] served, passed and hit their way to control the rest of the match.”

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