Penn State Women’s Volleyball (21-1, 11-1) retained their coveted No. 1 ranking this past week when the Nittany Lions defeated then-No. 9 Wisconsin and unranked Illinois.
Last Wednesday, in front of a crowd of 3,125 at Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions took down the Wisconsin Badgers in four sets (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16).
Redshirt junior Nia Reed (Fort Wayne, N.J.) found her moment in the spotlight, keeping the team in a position to win as she added a career-high 11 kills at a clip of .421.
Teammate Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) once again anchored the team, contributing 14 kills and seven blocks, which put her in the 500-career blocks club, making her just the seventh Nittany Lion to hit that accomplishment as well as the 1,000-career kills club.
Although the Badgers held marginally better statistics than the Lions, the Blue and White showed that statistics aren’t always the deciding factor. Wisconsin had 55 blocks to PSU’s 54, 51 assists to 47, but just 9.0 blocks to the Lions’ 14.0.
This win was huge, and means that the Lions were still undefeated in the Big Ten. However, just a few days later, the Blue and White traveled to Illinois for another conference showdown.
Luckily, the ladies were victorious in three sets (30-28, 25-11, 25-15).
Once the women found their rhythm they did not lose it. Lee led the way with a match-high 16 kills and six digs.
Washington and teammate Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.) weren’t far behind, adding 10 kills to the team’s impressive game resume.
The team bested Illinois in every aspect statistically, with 52 blocks to the Fighting Illini’s 38, 49 blocks to 37, and an impressive 12.0 blocks to Illinois’ 5.5
The No. 1-ranked Blue and White will look to defend their pristine title this coming Wednesday as the women travel to Michigan State to take on the No. 13-ranked Spartans at 7 p.m for what is sure to be one of the best Big Ten showdowns of the season. Good luck, team!