#5 Penn State Rallies to Win a Five Set Thriller Over #2 Stanford

  0 Brandon Johnson | September 10th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12

Match Info

  • #2 Stanford vs #5 Penn St. at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge
  • Penn State improves to 7-0; Stanford drops to 5-2
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Match Stats

The Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge finished with a bang as two of the sport’s top teams battled in a five set thriller Saturday evening in Champaign, Ill. In the end, the Nittany Lions of Penn State, ranked #5 in the country, were able to pull out a hard fought five set victory over the #2 ranked Cardinal of Stanford. This marked the second victory for Penn State over Stanford in nine days as the Nittany Lions pulled out a four set victory on September 1st in College Station. Set scores of this match were 24-26, 25-22, 23-25, 25-15, 15-11. Simone Lee and Ali Frantti lead the way for Penn State with 21 and 20 kills respectively. Haleigh Washington led the defense at the net with 10 total blocks. Bryanna Weiskircher dished out 29 assists while Abby Detering added 26 as the Nittany Lions outhit the Cardinal .260 to .186. Penn State improves to 7-0 on the year and lead the match in every major category including kills (64-60), digs (59-44), blocks (20-12), and aces (4-3). The Nittany Lions will return to the court on September 15th when they host Yale in the Penn State Classic.

Audriana Fitzmorris started the match with the first kill, and set one proved to be a back and forth affair. Penn State rallied from a 24-21 deficit to tie the game, but Stanford was able to close out the set on an error from Lee. Five service errors from the Nittany Lions contributed to the set victory for the Cardinal. Kathryn Plummer had five kills in the set and Fitzmorris added three.

Set two saw Penn State jump out to a 10-7 lead behind 4 team blocks, forcing a timeout from Stanford. The lead swelled to 18-11 on an ace from Frantti. Stanford trimmed the lead to two late in the set on an ace from Fitzmorris, but Penn State was able to close it out on a kill from Franti. Penn State had five team blocks in set two, increasing their total to 10 on the match.

Set three was back and forth all set long with neither team able to create any separation. Late in the set, Stanford middle blocker Tami Alade took over the set with a kill followed directly by her own solo block. The Stanford block continued to be a huge presence, forcing Penn State into back to back errors as the Cardinal opened a five point lead. Penn State made an impressive run late in the set to pull within one, but Stanford closed it out on a double block from Merete Lutz and Alade.

Set four started the same way as the previous three sets with both teams trading points early on. Lee put down back to back kills as Penn State was able to open a four point leading causing Stanford to call timeout. A huge kill from Washington ballooned the lead to five and the Nittany Lions never looked back, forcing a deciding fifth set.

Set five was a nailbiter throughout. The set started with Penn State scoring the first two points, but that lead was quickly erased as the Cardinal scored the next three, highlighted by an ace from Kate Formico. The Nittany Lions had an answer though as a fourth kill of the set from Lee grew the Penn State lead to 8-5 at the side switch, forcing Stanford coach Kevin Hambly to take his first timeout of the set. The set was far from over though as back to back hitting errors for the Nittany Lions tied the scored at 8. A three point run highlighted by kills from Franti and Abby Detering opened up a 12-9 lead for Penn State, prompting Stanford to call their final timeout. A Franti kill off the block brought a match point to the Nittany Lions and Penn State was finally able to finish the match on a ball that Stanford was not able to send over the net.

The Cardinal were unable to complete a two match sweep in Hambly’s return to Illinois. A night after sweeping the host Illini in three tightly contested sets, the Cardinal ran out of gas late, falling to 5-2 on the year. Plummer lead the Cardinal with 20 kills, but her 12 errors dropped her hitting percentage to .148 on the match. Fitzmorris chipped in 13 kills and 6 blocks and Jenna Gray dished out 53 assists. Stanford returns to action on September 15th as they host Pacific.

Press Release:

Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The No. 3 Penn State women’s volleyball took down fourth ranked Stanford, 3-2; 24-26, 25-22, 23-25, 25-17, 15-11, in a battle of a match in Huff Hall to close out the 2017 Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge on Saturday evening.

Senior Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) started the match slow, only tallying 11 kills through the first three sets, but she came on strong, finishing with a match-high 21 to help Penn State to victory. Fellow outside Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) finished the evening with a season-high 20 kills on a clip of .310.As a team, the Nittany Lions tallied 20.0 blocks, the second most in program history for a 25-point five set match. Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Co.) was the key cog to that number as the middle blocker led the team with 10 blocks, while adding 11 kills for the double-double. Bryanna Weiskircher (Rockford, Ill.) also added a double-double as she tallied 29 assists and scooped up 12 digs.

Kendall White (Indianapolis, Ind.) led all players with 22 digs.

The first set foreshadowed the whole match, proving it would be a battle between two of the top teams as it went 26-24 in favor in of the Cardinal. The Nittany Lions committed five service errors and the proved to be the difference as PSU tallied three more kills than Stanford and out-blocked them, 5.0-3.0.

Frantti continued her hot play from the night prior as she went off in the second set for eight kills to help the Nittany Lions take the second set, 25-22. Penn State tallied five blocks in the set, while Stanford did not register a single stop at the net.

Out of the break, the third set mimicked the opener. Stanford jumped out to an early lead, but the Nittany Lions were able to counter and pull it even at 14. From there, the set yo-yoed back and forth until the Cardinal was able to grab a three point lead, 21-18, forcing Penn State to take their second timeout. Again, the Nittany Lions battled back, and Stanford needed to call a timeout, with the score 24-23 in the Cardinal favor. The timeout proved to be worthy as Stanford was able to earn the set point, giving them a 2-0 advantage.

In the fourth set, the Nittany Lions handled Stanford, holding them to .074 hitting, and just nine kills and the countered with 15 kills of their own and six blocks.

In the deciding set, Penn State jumped out to an 8-5 lead, forcing Stanford to call a timeout on the switch. The Cardinal was able to tie the set at 8, but Penn State refused to relent and took home the set and the match.

Penn State returns home on Friday, Sept. 14 for the Penn State Classic as they host Yale at 7:30 p.m. ET for their home opener at Rec Hall. Single match tickets are available athttp://gopsu.info/vbsinglegametickets

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