- No. 16 Penn State (11-3, 3-0 B1G) topples No. 18 Michigan State (12-3, 1-2 B1G) in three (25-22, 25-20, 25-13)
The Nittany Lions stomped past the Spartans in three sets. Penn State hit for .333 while holding Michigan State to .103.
Simone Lee posted a team-best 12 kills for the Nittany Lions with Ali Frantti adding another 10 kills. Setter Abby Detering handed out 34 assists for the night and Kendall White picked up 11 digs.
For the Spartans, Alyssa Garvelink led the way with nine kills and three blocks, while Rachel Minarick picked up nine digs.
Courtesy of Penn State Athletics
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – It was an electric atmosphere inside Rec Hall as No. 16 Penn State fed off the electricity in what was one of the more convincing wins for the Nittany Lions this season, topping the No. 18 Michigan State Spartans in three sets.
Penn State, coming off an unblemished first week of Big Ten play, faced their first ranked opponent since playing then-No. 9 Stanford, the Nittany Lions improved to 9-0 in individual sets across three conference matches.
“I thought the crowd and the energy from them and the band were tremendous tonight,” head coach Russ Rose said. “I’m always happy when we win a match.”
Behind a dominate performance, the Nittany Lions took down the Spartans, who had just taken top-ranked Nebraska to five sets a week earlier. The Nittany Lions, as they have been all season, were led by Simone Lee who totaled 12 kills to lead all players. However, Ali Frantti, who has struggled with consistency this season, certainly stepped up in this match. Frantti finished second on the team with 10 kills, hitting higher than .300, while also passing well.
“I though [Simone] and [Ali] both played extremely well and I though Ali really passed well tonight for us,” Rose said. “I though Simone had a couple good blocks and overall the two of them carried the offense. We set them over 50 percent of the time and that’s a lot to ask but for the most part that were up to the task.”
Michigan State is well known in the Big Ten for being one of the more imposing teams in terms of physicality and overall height. Still, it was the Nittany Lions who won the physicality battle, using a slew of solo blocks to turn the tide in the second set.
“I think I was on the bench for those blocks, but you could tell that they really fired everyone up,” Frantti said. “It’s plays like that that can really help you out as a team.”
Not only were the Nittany Lions solid at the net, but for the most part they nullified a large Michigan State block with quality spotting of the ball and solid high and hard swings to keep the Spartans off balance.
“Against a team like that you have to swing high and hard,” Lee said. “You also have to tip well and hit spots and I thought we did both of those well tonight. You have to give credit to our middles as well for really holding the blocks and freeing up space for us to take swings.”
Penn State has started to play a more complete game, led by Frantti and Lee at the helm of the offense in the past two weeks. At 3-0 in Big Ten play, Penn State is off to yet another strong start in the conference. In the beginning of the season, the Nittany Lions found themselves struggling when taking the lead in matches, but now it seems with a 2-0 set lead, Penn State has started to play their best volleyball rather than falling behind.
“I thought for the most part in that third set we were in control and Michigan State looked a little disoriented,” Rose said. “When you have a chance to pull away from a team in this conference you have to.”
Penn State certainly pulled away and led by Frantti and Lee, put together an overall emphatic victory for the Nittany Lions’ first win over a ranked opponent this season. It will be a quick turn around for the Nittany Lions as they are set to face No. 22 Michigan tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Rec Hall.
Courtesy of Michigan State Athletics
No. 18 Michigan State played its first road match of the Big Ten schedule on Friday, and couldn’t overcome 21 hitting errors in a 3-0 loss to No. 16 Penn State (22-25, 20-25, 13-25).
MSU falls to 12-3, 1-2 Big Ten with its first back-to-back losses of the year. PSU is now 10-3, 3-0 Big Ten.
MSU played a pair of tight sets to open the match, falling 25-22 and 25-20, but became a bit unhinged by a string of errors in the third set that didn’t allow the team to battle back into the match. The home team was led by 12 kills from Simone Lee, and 10 from Ali Frantti, improving to 3-0 in Big Ten play. MSU got nine kills and a match-best three blocks from Alyssa Garvelink, while Autumn Bailey had seven kills and eight digs and Rachel Minarick (21 assists, nine digs, four kills) just missed her third double-double of the season.
The Spartans wrap up the weekend with a Saturday match at Rutgers. First serve from New Brunswick is at 7 pm.
- SET ONE: MSU took an early three-point lead at 9-6 after a solo block by Alyssa Garvelink, but the home team stormed right back with three straight points to tie it at 9-9. A point-for-point battle ensued, and with the frame tied 14-14, the Spartans scored three of the next four points -a dump into the back corner by Minarick and kills by Bailey and Garvelink – to pull ahead by two, 17-15. Once again, the home team stormed back, scoring four straight and eight of the next 10 points to go up 23-19. Reinig got a kill into the back left corner to make it 23-20 and get the side out, A Spartan service error gave PSU set point, but an error by the Nittany Lions followed by a Bailey service ace made it 24-22 – and PSU called time out. MSU’s fifth hitting error of the set gave the Nittany Lions a 25-22 set victory; the home team hit .375 and was led by Simone Lee’s six kills, while Bailey (4-0-10) led the Spartans.
- SET TWO: Neither team could build a lead more significant than two points, as PSU held a 12-10 edge. MSU pulled within a point at 13-12, and out of a timeout, PSU scored two of the next three points to make it 15-12. MSU scored the next two on kills by Bailey and Minarick, but a pair of blocks by the home team extened their lead back to three (17-14). A 4-1 Nittany Lion run was aided by a pair of MSU errors, and dipped the Spartans’ hitting percentage to .220 for the match to that point. A 20-16 PSU lead was their largest of the set, but a service error by the Nittany Lions and a kill by Garvelink turned it back into a two-point game, and the home team called time out. After a kill by Chloe Reinig made it 21-19 PSU, the Nittany Lions scored three of the next four tget to set point, and a big block by Simone Lee gave Penn State a 2-0 lead in the match. The home team posted three blocks to MSU’s one in the frame, and hit .333 to just .147 for the Spartans. Alyssa Garvelink had four blocks in the set to push her match total to seven.
- SET THREE: An early 6-2 lead for the Nittany Lions was built by finishing off some entertaining rallies, and they pushed it out to 12-5, the largest lead of the night, when the Spartans called time out. In all, a 7-0 run for the home team allowed PSU to go ahead 15-5, using a pair of blocks, one kill, and three Spartan errors to their advantage. Trailling 23-10, Toliver served up back-to-back aces, and PSU coach Russ Rose called time out to try to ice the Spartan junior. A Bailey kill kept the service run going, but a kill off the block by PSU got the home team to match point.Quoteable: “It’s obviously not what we had in mind coming in here tonight. We made far too many errors to allow us to be competitive in the third set after we had some pretty good fight in those first two sets. We’ll get back to work in the morning, because we know that we are capable of so much more. Every night is going to be a battle in the Big Ten, and the mental aspect is going to be as difficult as the physical games.”
— Head Coach Cathy George
af TOP PERFORMERS
- Alyssa Garvelink had nine kills and added a team-best three blocks, hitting .278
- Autumn Bailey posed seven kills and adding eight digs.
- Rachel Minarick recorded 21 assists, just missing a double-double with nine digs while adding four kills (4-0-8). STATS AND STORYLINES
- MSU’s hit just .103 in the match, its least effective hitting performance since hitting .098 vs. Florida (Sept. 4). Twenty-one attack errors was the third highest total of the season.
- MSU is now 10-2 in three-set matches and 1-3 in matches vs. ranked teams.
- MSU had five service aces, its fewest since a Sept. 10 win over SIU.
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