After last appearing in the middle of September, Nia Reed made her return this past week with a pair of matches on the road against Michigan State and Michigan. Reed is the team-leader in scoring per game.
A 6’1″ fifth-year senior pin, Reed posted 14 kills (2.33 per set) in the two matches and hit .216 in the process along with five blocks (0.83 per set). Penn State also won both matches in sweep fashion, outscoring the opposition 151-112 as they improved to 11-3 and 2-2 in the Big Ten. Without her, the team went 2-2.
Her playing ended that stretch of four straight matches without Reed for the Nittany Lions. They won the first two without her against Buffalo and American, with her last match before that a 10 kill effort against Howard. The team began Big Ten play without her as well, falling to Minnesota in straight sets and getting upended in four at Ohio State.
A native of Fort Lee, New Jersey, Reed appeared in just 23 sets across her first two seasons of play. She saw more time last season for a Final Four team when she played in 52 sets in 25 matches, notching 1.29 kills per set on a .247 clip and 0.40 blocks per set. This year though has been a breakout final season for Reed, who is currently posting per set numbers of 3.42 points, 3.00 kills on a .269 mark, 0.70 blocks and 0.53 digs.
Those points per set and kills per set mark actually lead the team. Additionally, no one else is currently eclipsing the three kills per set threshold.
Mostly filling her role when she was out of the lineup, for some undisclosed reason, was freshman Allyson Cathey. The youngster has appeared in eight matches with Reed, but all four of her starts this season have come sans-Reed. In those four, she recorded 3.29 kills per set on a .243 clip, 0.86 blocks per set and 0.43 digs per set.
Penn State’s season continues this Friday at home against Maryland, their first home conference match of 2018. They’ll round out the weekend by hosting Ohio State, to see if Reed truly is the difference against the Buckeyes.