#2 Penn State and Haleigh Washington Sweep (RV) Illinois in Battle of Elite Middles

  0 Derek Johnson | September 29th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor


  • #2 Penn State def. (RV) Illinois 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 26-24)
  • #2 Penn State improves to 12-1 (2-1 Big Ten); Illinois drops to 11-3 (2-1 Big Ten)
  • University Park, Pennsylvania (Big Ten Match)
  • Attendance: 3,547
  • Box Score

University Park, Pennsylvania – #2 Penn State impressed with a sweep of (RV) Illinois as the Nittany Lions gave the Fighting Illini their Big Ten loss of the season.

The meeting was more than ranked vs. on the cusp in the latest VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings, as it featured two of the best middle blockers in the country. Neither disappointed as Penn State’s Haleigh Washington hit .647 with 11 kills, four blocks and two aces while Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli logged seven kills and nine blocks while hitting .500.

Beyond the two stars in the middle, Simone Lee (10 kills, four digs), Abby Detering (21 assists, six kills while hitting .500, five digs) and Heidi Thelen (five kills while hitting .625, six blocks) posted strong numbers for Penn State. For Illinois, setter Jordyn Poulter (35 assists, six digs, two blocks) helped Megan Cooney (nine kills while hitting .333, three blocks) and Beth Prince (nine kills) to solid matches.

Penn State came out with a jolt in the first two sets as a 6-0 run in the first gave them distance at 13-8, which they would hold to a 25-19 set victory. In the second, Penn State scored six of the first seven and never turned back for the 2-0 set lead.

The third set proved to be the toughest, although it didn’t start that way with Penn State out in front 16-11. An 8-0 run put Illinois back in front 19-16, but back the lead went to the Nittany Lions advantage after a 5-0 spurt. The runs weren’t done either, as after Penn State moved ahead 23-20, Illinois recorded four straight for a set point chance. However, they squandered that opportunity with a serve error that preceded a Lee kill and a Thelen block to end the match.

Overall, Penn State hit .337 for the match compared to a .200 mark from Illinois. A big reason for that was aggressive and accurate serving from Penn State to keep Illinois out of system as the Nittany Lions had six aces to five serve errors compared to a zero ace-seven error match at the line for the Fighting Illini.

It’s a quick turnaround for both of these schools as Penn State sticks around their home court for a meeting with Northwestern tomorrow night. Illinois goes to New Jersey to face Rutgers on Sunday as they will have a day to reset.


Courtesy of Penn State:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 3 Penn State women’s volleyball team bested the visiting University of Illinois, 3-0; 25-19, 25-17, 26-24, in Big Ten action on Friday evening in Rec Hall.

Penn State saw senior Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Co.) lead the team in kills for the first time this season, as the middle blocker put down a game-high 11 kills on an impressive clip of .647. She also added four blocks and two service aces to her stat line.

Fellow senior Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ky.) proved to be a key contributor in the Nittany Lions’ victory. The middle blocker led the team with six blocks, including two solos. Her most important solo block was the set and match point as she stifled the Illini attack. Thelen was also effective on offense, putting down five kills on eight attempts without an error for a hitting percentage .625.

Simone Lee tallied 10 kills on the evening, making it 13-straight matches this season that the outside hitter has put down double-digit kills.

Abby Detering (Mentor, Ohio) paced the Nittany Lions with 21 assists, while Bryanna Weiskircher added 14.

Penn State hit .337 on the evening while holding Illinois to a .200 hitting percentage. The squad also dished out six service aces, while Illinois did not record a single one.

The Nittany Lions return to action on Saturday evening with a new time of 7:30 p.m. against Northwestern. The game was pushed back 30 minutes to accommodate for fans coming from the Penn State vs. Indiana football game at Beaver Stadium.

Courtesy of Illinois:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Illinois volleyball team fought until the end, but it was not enough as the Illini suffered a three-set (25-19, 25-17, 26-24) setback on Friday (September 29) night at Rec Hall.

The Illini (11-3, 2-1) were led by nine kills each from sophomore Jacqueline Quade, redshirt-sophomore Beth Prince and freshman Megan Cooney, while junior Ali Bastianelli registered a match-high nine blocks to go along with seven kills on a .500 hitting percentage on the night.

As a team, the Illini posted a .200 hitting percentage with junior Jordyn Poulter totaling 35 assists.

Defensively, UI outblocked the Nittany Lions (12-1, 2-1) with nine blocks to their seven, with Quade and Cooney each contributing three.

Senior Brandi Donnelly paced the Illini with a match-high 14 digs.

The Illini will finish up their Big Ten Conference-opening road swing on Sunday (October 1) with an 11 a.m. CT match against Rutgers at College Avenue Gym in New Brunswick, N.J.

For more Fighting Illini volleyball news, stay tuned to FightingIllini.com and follow @IlliniVBall on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook.

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