In a game that had the crowd of eighteen thousand on its feet for five sets, the Nittany Lions fell to the Nebraska Huskers, 3-2.
The first set was a tough one for the Lions, who lost 25-18. Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) kept the team alive, though, and posted six kills during the opening set.
The next two sets were dangerously close, but the Blue and White scraped by each time, winning the second set 25-23 and the third set 26-24.
Despite nearly securing leads in both the fourth and fifth sets (28-26, 15-11), the Huskers would not give up easily, and managed to wrangle enough points to lock in both set wins, and, ultimately, claim victory for the evening.
Although the team will not be advancing, they put on quite a show on Thursday.
Lee posted a total of 18 kills and 15 digs. Teammate Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) logged 13 kills, 3 digs and six blocks. Fellow senior Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) recorded nine kills, 10 digs and two blocks. This crew of seniors will be dearly missed.
Abby Detering (Mentor, Ohio) had the game of her life against the Huskers and posted 24 assists, five kills, seven digs and two blocks. Bryanna Weiskircher (Rockford, Ill.) followed up with 25 assists and 18 digs.
Defensively, libero Kendall White (Indianapolis, Ind.) logged 16 digs and three assists.
The game was incredibly evenly matched from start to finish, with both Big Ten schools fighting in the strategic, scrappy way that is so characteristic of the Big Ten.
Penn State and Nebraska had similar statistics, with Nebraska only truly outdoing Penn State by recording 90 blocks to the Lions’ 72.
The Lions, who recorded only two losses the entire season, will be graduating eight seniors: Detering, Frantti, Washington, Lee, Lainy Pierce (Eden, N.Y.), Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.), Weiskircher and Jen Halterman (Dillsburg, Pa.).
Six of this year’s team were named to the AVCA All-America Teams: Lee, Washington, White, Frantti, Thelen and Detering.
We already know the team is hungry for a championship title next year. We Are… so proud of our women’s volleyball team!