Penn State (15-1, 4-1) moved up in the polls to No. 2 after two tense road games in Columbus this past weekend.
On Friday, the Lions were welcomed to the court by Ohio State Buckeyes. Historically a challenge for the Lions, Ohio State brought the heat but Penn State ultimately came out victorious.
In one of the hardest games yet, the Lions took down the Buckeyes 3-2, dominating especially in the fourth and fifth sets (25-19, 23-25, 28-30, 25-9, 15-7).
It took all players on the team to pull off this five-set win, and the team’s usual anchors had to work doubly hard to keep the Lions afloat.
Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) achieved her one-thousandth kill in the second set. Lee also was second on the team in kills with 18 and she added 10 digs as well.
Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who was Big Ten Player of the Week thanks to her efforts in the tournament, led the team with a whopping 20 kills and two digs.
The defense played a large part in this game, as Ohio State was pummeling Penn State with well-placed hits.
Penn State outnumbered Ohio State with 68 kills to the Buckeye’s 23, and had 17.0 blocks to OSU’s 4.0.
There was little time to celebrate this 3-2 victory as the squad needed to prepare to take on another Big Ten contender, Maryland, the next evening at Maryland’s campus in College Park.
The long drive to Maryland did not faze the Lions, who took down the Terps in three straight sets (25-17, 25-11, 25-23).
Senior Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) led the charge with 12 digs, while Washington added 11 kills and three digs for the Lions, and Lee followed not far behind with 10 kills and six digs.
Bryanna Weiskircher (Rockford, Ill.) and Detering were forces to be reckoned with on defense as Weiskircher clinched 18 digs and Detering 14 to lock in the win against Maryland.
Despite the significant win, Penn State and Maryland were quite evenly matched statistics-wise. Both teams locked in 34 kills apiece, but Penn State edged out the Terps with 42 digs to their 33 and 12.0 blocks to 4.0
The now No. 2 team in the nation looks to continue its trend of excellence next weekend against No. 15 Michigan State and Michigan next Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. We hope to see you there!