It was a game for the ages this past weekend as No. 1 Penn State Women’s Volleyball (29-1, 19-1) took down Wisconsin and Minnesota and to clinch the title of Big Ten Champions and the No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament.
In a game that went to four sets (18-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-20), Penn State held strong against fellow Big Ten opponent Wisconsin and ultimately claimed victory and the Big Ten Championship despite the challenges of playing this critical game in enemy territory.
Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) anchored the team with 14 kills and 14 digs for the evening. Fellow senior classmates Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) and Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) were next in line in statistics with 11 and 10 kills apiece. Frantti also added eight digs.
Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.) was also a key player in this victory as she propelled the team into the lead heading into the third set. Thelen overall added nine kills, two digs and six blocks against for the Blue and White.
Abby Detering (Mentor, Ohio) had one of her best games of the season, contributing 26 assists, nine digs and three kills. Teammate Bryanna Weiskircher (Rockford, Ill.) held strong with 24 assists and five digs.
The Lions and the Badgers were exceedingly well-matched, with all statistics neck-and-neck with each other. Penn State managed to come out on top with 53 kills to Wisco’s 50, 53 assists to the Badgers’ 49 and 12.5 blocks to 7.0
The ladies had to quickly adjust to yet another tough opponent as the team headed to Minnesota the next evening.
In yet another four-set game (29-27, 25-20, 24-26, 25-20), Penn State defeated Minnesota and claimed the Big Ten title.
Washington and Lee dominated the scene offensively, offering up 21 and 20 kills, respectively.
Detering and Weiskircher put out their best performances yet this season with 29 and 30 assists apiece. Weiskircher also added 13 digs to help out the team.
Frantti left it all out there on the court with six kills, 17 digs an one assist as well. The match was a true team game by the Blue and White.
The Lions bested the Gophers with 18.0 blocks to their 8.0. The team also won out with 67 blocks to the opponent’s 62.
With this significant win came not only a conference champion title, but also the achievement of being ranked as the No. 1 seed heading into the NCAA tournament.
Penn State will serve yet again (for the 28th year in a row) as one of the sites of the NCAA tournament.
On the docket for the Lions’ first round game is against Howard, against who the Blue and White have never lost.
The team will play against Howard on December first with a 7:30 p.m. serve at Rec Hall. Prior to that game, Penn State will be hosting Pittsburgh vs. VCU at 5 p.m.
The winners of both of those games will then face off against each other the next day, December 2, at 6:30 p.m. in Rec Hall.
Wishing our Nittany Lions the best of luck as they relish in their Big Ten Champions title and also begin to prepare for a bid at becoming National Champions!