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volleyball-women-d1 flag | September 28, 2013

Roundup: No. 1 Penn State falls in five

No. 15 Michigan State 3, No. 1 Penn State 2

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Despite career-high efforts from junior Micha Hancock and sophomore Megan Courtney, No. 1 Penn State (9-2) lost a tough five-set battle (23-25, 24-26, 25-19, 25-19, 9-15) to No. 15 Michigan State (12-2) in the Nittany Lions' Big Ten opener.

Courtney notched her second double-double of the season with a career-high 15 kills and 14 digs, while Hancock tallied nine kills, dishing out 57 assists. Senior Ariel Scott led the squad with a season-high 18 kills, adding eight digs and five blocks, including one solo block.

Senior Katie Slay also hit double-digits with 11 kills, while leading with a team-best six blocks, including two solo stuffs. Senior Deja McClendon tied for squad-best with 14 digs, adding seven kills on one solo block.

Penn State and Michigan State opened the match fighting point-for-point until two MSU service errors and one attacking error gave the Nittany Lions a slim lead, 16-14. Finding momentum, PSU continued to benefit from Spartan miscues, pulling ahead by as many as five, 20-15. Michigan State answered back with a 7-3 stretch, capped off with a kill from Lauren Wicinski to come within one point of the lead 22-21. From there, the Spartans closed out the set on a 4-1 run to claim the opening frame, 25-23.

With the second set tied, 9-all, Penn State managed to pull away by two, 12-10, helped out by an MSU attacking error and a kill from Scott. The Lions remained close behind for the next few points, before Courtney connected on back-to-back kills to give the Nittany Lions a three-point lead, 18-15, forcing a Michigan State timeout.

From there, Penn State used a 3-1 spurt to move ahead, 23-19, before the Spartans stormed back with a kill and a pair of blocks to make it 23-22. Both clubs traded points to knot the match up two more times before Michigan State grabbed set two, 26-24, following a pair of PSU attacking errors.

Penn State used a 4-0 run early in the third frame, capped off by an ace from Gonzalez and a kill from Courtney to go up 6-2. The Nittany Lions did not relinquish control of the lead for the remainder of the set, securing a 25-19 win stay alive in the match. Courtney led the attack in the third period, firing seven kills on 11 errorless swings for a .636 hitting clip.

Trailing by one, 5-4, in set four, Penn State doubled its advantage, 8-6, helped out by kills from Scott and McClendon and an ace from Courtney. The Spartans trimmed the advantage back to one, 9-8, but Penn State charged on, using a 7-3 streak finished off by two consecutive solo stuffs from Grant and McClendon put the Lions up, 16-11. PSU didn't let the Spartans any closer than four points, rallying to a 25-19 win in the fourth set to send the match into a deciding fifth and final set.

Trailing by two early in the fifth frame, Slay slammed a kill to put Penn State within one, 4-3. Penn State attacking errors hindered the Nittany Lions from moving ahead, as the Spartans built a three-point cushion, 9-6, causing PSU to call a timeout. Penn State regrouped and answered with a pair of points to come within one, 9-8, but couldn't move ahead for good, handing the Spartans a 15-9 win in the set and the match.

No. 5 Texas 3, Oklahoma 0

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas defeated Oklahoma 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-19) in front of 4,068 fans Saturday afternoon in Gregory Gymnasium. Senior Bailey Webster led the Longhorns' offensive attack with a match-high 15 kills, while senior libero Sarah Palmer paced the defense with her match-high 18 digs and senior setter Hannah Allison added 43 assists throughout the three-set match.

The win marked Texas' 42nd-consecutive win at home in Big 12 play.

In the first set, Texas (8-2, 2-0 Big 12) never trailed and won 25-17. With the score 6-4, a block by Allison and Khat Bell began a 7-1 Texas run. The Longhorns opened up an eight point lead at 18-10 before the Sooners (13-3, 1-1 Big 12) used 4-1 and 4-0 runs to get back within four. After a UT timeout, the Longhorns closed out the set on a 4-0 run.

The second set was a much closer contest with Texas narrowly winning, 25-21. The set saw nine ties and four lead changes. Oklahoma held their first lead of the match at 4-3, but UT answered with a 5-1 run. The rest of the set was back-and-forth with both teams within three the entire way until the Horns used a 5-1 run after being down 21-20 to close out the set. In that run, freshman Chiaka Ogbogu recorded three of her six kills in the set.

Texas never trailed in the third set and jumped out to a 7-4 lead. With the score 19-17, the Horns finished off the match with a 6-2 run including back-to-back kills by freshman Victoria Pilar. As a team, Texas hit .432 (19-3-37) in the third set, led by Webster's seven kills.

No. 6 Hawaii 3, Cal State Fullerton 1

HONOLULU -- It was a record-setting night for sixth-ranked Hawaii. Nikki Taylor established a new career-high of 20 kills and two team records fell as the 'Bows opened Big West Conference play with a 25-22, 25-5, 25-20 win against Cal State Fullerton.

Ali Longo won a Rainbow record 20 consecutive points off her serve in UH's second-set dominance, and the 'Bows (12-1, 1-0 BWC) established a new rally-scoring mark when they allowed CSF only five points in the second set.

Taylor was the top hitter of the evening as her 20 kills came off just 30 swings as she finished the match with a .567 hitting percentage. Tai Manu-Olevao drilled 10 kills and posted eight digs and four blocks, and Longo had a match-high 18 digs.

Leah Best, Alyse Hensley, and Bre Moreland all had six kills to lead the Titans who fell to 7-6 and 0-1 in the Big West. Emily Hartong finished with six kills and 11 digs, and Kalei Adolpho had eight kills and four blocks.

St. Mary's (Calif.) 3, No. 8 San Diego 2

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Despite three players recording double-digit kills, eighth-ranked San Diego dropped a heart breaking 3-2 West Coast Conference match to Saint Mary's Saturday afternoon at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With the 21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 16-25, 11-15 loss, the Toreros fall to 9-3 overall, move to 1-2 in the WCC and suffered their first home loss of the season. With the win, the Gaels improve to 7-5 overall and move to 3-1 in the WCC.

Taylor Hollins led the team with 15 kills, wile recording 12 digs to post her second double-double of the season. Alaysia Brown was the second Torero in double-digit kills, as she had 13 on 21 swings to hit for a .476 clip, and she had a pair of blocks. 

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