Press Release courtesy of Penn State Athletics
The No. 1 Penn State volleyball team starts of their three-match road trip to close out the regular season with a match at Rutgers on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET in Piscataway, N.J.
LAST TIME OUT
The No. 1 Penn State women’s volleyball team swept Indiana, 3-0; 25-21, 25-16, 25-16, on Wednesday evening in Rec Hall to move to 16-1 in Big Ten action, and 26-1 overall.
The Nittany Lions put up impressive numbers at the net against the Hoosiers. Penn State tallied 13.0 blocks, posting 4.0 in the first set alone, while Indiana finished the match with just 1.0 total. Tori Gorrell (Oakville, Ontario), Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.), and Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Co.) recorded eight, six, and five, respectively, to extinguish the Hoosier offense.
Along with her impressive defensive performance, Gorrell delivered an effective offensive outing as well as she posted six kills on a hitting percentage of .500.
Washington came in blazing in the first set, putting down five kills in the opener. The senior middle blocker finished the game with a match-high 10 kills and a hitting percentage of .667.
SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS
The Scarlet Knights enter the match on Saturday with a 5-24 record, and 0-17 Big Ten Record. Rutgers’ offense is orchestrated by sophomore setter Megan Sharkey. Sharkey is averaging 7.80 assists per set while adding 1.48 digs and 0.25 aces. She was named to the ECU Invitational All-Tournament team earlier this season and reached her 1,000 career assist against Ohio State on Oct. 7. Stasa Miljevic leads the team in blocks (0.83 per set) and hitting percentage (.251). Freshman opposite hitter Kamila Cieslik posts a team-leading 2.62 kills/set. Cieslik was named to three All-Tournament Teams this preseason, including an MVP performance at the ECU Invitational. She made the Seton Hall Classic All-Tournament Team with 3.67 kills/set on a .424 hitting percentage, four service aces, 14 digs and eight blocks. She was also named to the Kangaroo Klassic All-Tournament Team with 21 kills, seven blocks, and 18 digs.
>> The Nittany Lions have managed to hold their last four opponents to sub-.100 hitting percentages, as they held Rutgers to .056 (11/4), Iowa to .040 (11/8), Maryland to .047 (11/11) and on Wednesday night, they held Indiana to .083.
>> Simone Lee was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following the Nittany Lions’ matches against Iowa and Maryland. The senior outside averaged 5.58 points per set, 4.33 kills per set on .383 hitting, 4.67 digs per set, 0.83 blocks, and recorded back-to-back double-doubles with 16 kills and 15 digs against Iowa with a .429 hitting percentage, three blocks, and two aces, and 10 kills and 13 digs against Maryland, with two aces, and two blocks, and a .320 hitting percentage. Lee also finished with a 97.6-percent serve reception percentage, as she took in over 50-percent of the team’s reception attempts, only making one error all week in her 41 attempts. Her defense helped hold the opponents to a combined .043 hitting percentage, as Iowa hit just .040, and Maryland hit .047.
>> Lee became the first Penn State outside hitter to earn a Defensive Player honor as all prior have been defensive specialists, liberos, or middle blockers.
>> With the honor, Penn State has now racked up 10 Big Ten weekly awards as Lee now has a Player and Defensive honor to her name, while Haleigh Washington has picked up four Player of the Week honors, Kendall White has earned three Defensive Player of the Week awards, and Ali Frantti snagged a Player of the Week honor.
>> For the fifth straight week, the Penn State women’s volleyball team has earned the No. 1 ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association, but for the first time this season, the Nittany Lions have earned all 64 votes for a unanimous selection. In fact, this is the first time all season that any team that has held the No. 1 spot has received all 64 votes.
>> The marks the 71st week the Nittany Lions have been at No. 1 in the poll since the end of the 2006 season, and the 95th time in the history of the poll. The Nittany Lions’ first No. 1 Ranking came on Sept. 2, 1997, and the poll was started in 1982.
>> Penn State also remained No. 1 in the RPI that was released on Monday, Nov. 13.
>>Twice this season, the Nittany Lions have had four players with double-digit kills. Against Stanford (9/1): Abby Detering (11k), Ali Frantti (10k), Haleigh Washington (10k), and Simone Lee (11k), and against Purdue (10/20): Ali Frantti (15k), Heidi Thelen (14k), Simone Lee (13k), and Haleigh Washington (10k).
VOTE, VOTE, VOTE
Haleigh Washington and Simone Lee were both named as Senior CLASS Award finalists. There are only ten finalists in the Women’s Volleyball category, and fans’ votes will be credited towards 1/3 of the winner’s selection. Since the award’s inauguration in 2010, Penn State has only had two finalists up to this point. Ariel Scott won in 2013, and Arielle Wilson was a First Team honoree in 2010. It is a Nittany Lion first with two in the final ten. VOTE
WASHINGTON NAMED CoSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Co.) has been named to the Academic All-District team for the third straight year as the philosophy major has maintained a 3.79-grade point average over her time at Penn State. In the 2015 campaign, Washington earned Academic All-America Second Team honors and was an Academic All-America Third Team honoree in 2016
The Penn State at Minnesota match on Nov. 25 has been picked up by the Big Ten Network, and the match time has been moved to 8:30 p.m. ET. This will be the first meeting between the two squads, both of whom are currently in the top three in the Big Ten Standings.
Penn State will close out the regular season with a Friday night match at No. 12 Wisconsin at 8 p.m. ET, and will head to No. 7 Minnesota for an 8:30 p.m.match on Saturday, Nov. 25.