This past week saw the No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions fail to capture the opener, thanks to the No. 15 Michigan State Spartans’ efforts in claiming the five-set game. The tough five-set battle eventually went to Michigan State, No.15 in the all-time Women’s volleyball rankings for the season opener.
Penn State’s Megan Courtney earned her second double-double of the current season, gaining a career-high of 15 kills and 14 digs. Micha Hancock earned herself nine kills while handling 57 total assists. Senior Ariel Scott led the team with her season-high 18 kills, eight digs and five block, one of which was a solo block.
Another senior player, Katie Slay, also hit a record of double-digits with 11 kills, leading the team with a best of six blocks, with two solo stuffs. Senior Deja McClendon eventually tied with the squad-best of 14 digs, in addition to adding an impressive seven kills on a single solo block.
Both Penn State and Michigan State kicked off the opener with an intense point-for-point battle, up until two MSU service errors and another attacking error handed the Nittany Lions an incredibly slim lead of 16-14. Penn State eventually continued to take advantage of Spartan slip-ups, pulling their lead ahead with 20-15.
Michigan State fired back with a 7-3 stretch, punctuating that stretch with a kill by Lauren Wicinski to nearly take the one-point lead by 22-21. After that, they eventually finished the set with a 4-1 run, taking the lead 25-23.
Into the second set, both sides were tied 9-all until Penn State pulled away by two points to take the lead to 12-10, following another Michigan State attacking error. Following a forced MSU timeout by the Nittany Lions, Penn State used their open opportunity to grab a 3-1 spurt to move ahead 23-19, before the MSU Spartans came back with a kill and two blocks to turn it 23-22.
Michigan State eventually grabbed set two with 26-24, following two attacking errors from Penn State’s side. The third set started with a Penn State 4-0 run that, with efforts including a kill from Courtney, went up 6-2.
They managed to keep control over the lead for the remainder of the third set, securing a 25-19 win. Set four started with Penn State trailing one at 5-4, doubling that to 8-6 following kills from player McClendon and an ace from Courtney. The set ended, following Penn State’s determination to keep their set up, scoring their 25-19 win into the fifth set.
Michigan State, however, took advantage of several Penn State attacking errors that eventually caused them to take the set and the match, 15-9.