Penn State Rolls to Elite Eight Behind .432 Hitting Effort

  0 Wendy Mayer | December 08th, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News, SEC


  • #1 Penn State def. Missouri 3-0 (25-17, 25-18., 25-19)
  • Penn State moves to 32-1; Missouri ends the season at 22-12
  • Penn State advances to the Elite Eight
  • University Park, Pennsylvania
  • Box Score


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 1 Penn State used an efficient offense to move past unseeded Missouri in a sweep on Friday afternoon. The Nittany Lions, which are on a 22-match win streak, are making their 16th Elite Eight appearance and eighth since 2006.

PSU bested the Tigers in every statistical category: outhitting Missouri .432 to .212 and outdoing its foe in kills (44-39), aces (6-5), blocks (6-2) and digs (39-26).

Senior outside Simone Lee led the way with 15 kills on a .500 hitting effort, while senior outside Ali Frantti added 11 kills on a .455 effort. Senior middle blocker Haleigh Washington followed with nine kills, hitting .500. Redshirt sophomore middle Tori Gorrell put up a team-high three blocks, while senior setter Abby Detering pulled up a match-high 10 digs to go with her 13 assists. Detering served up two of the team’s six aces, as did redshirt junior setter Bryanna Weiskircher.

Redshirt senior outside Melanie Crow paced Missouri with 12 kills, while three others added six or more. Redshirt senior opposite Kira Larson (8), redshirt freshman middle Kayla Caffey (7) and senior outside Sydney Deeken (6) rounded out the group. Redshirt sophomore libero Riley Sents notched 10 digs, while four players chipped in one block.

Penn State quickly built a six-point lead at 10-4 as Gorrell, Washington and Lee notched two kills apiece. The Nittany Lions upped the advantage to 17-9 with help from three aces, two by Weiskircher and one by Frantti. Missouri pulled within five at 21-16 with two aces of their own, both by Dariana Hollingworth. PSU closed out the set with a 4-1 run, including two Tiger miscues and capped by a Frantti putaway.

Missouri scored five of the first eight points in Set 2, two on Crow kills. Penn State countered with an 11-3 run, including four Lee putways and a pair of blocks by Gorrell, to go ahead 15-9. The Tigers cut the margin to three at 19-16 as Crow added three more kills. Three Mizzou miscues and a block by Heidi Thelen put PSU on the hill at 24-16. A Frantti kill three points later sealed the 25-18 win.

The Tigers came out hot out of the break with five of the first six points, with four on kills. Penn State narrowed the gap to one at 6-5. Later trailing 11-7, the Nittany Lions scored five straight, including three Washington kills, to grab a 12-11 lead. Three Lee putaways and aces by Washington and Detering pushed the edge to four at 19-15. The Tigers rallied to within two at 21-19 on an ace by Courtney Eckenrode. Penn State punched its ticket to the Elite Eight with a final 4-0 run. Two Frantti kills and one by Washington set up a final hitting error by Missouri.



Courtesy: Penn State Athletics

The No. 1 Penn State women’s volleyball team recorded a sweep in the NCAA Championship Third Round match as the Nittany Lions took down Missouri, 3-0; 25-17, 25-18, 25-19, in Rec Hall on Friday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions were extremely efficient on offense, hitting .432 for the match, and held Missouri to just .212 as a team by recording 6.0 team blocks and 39 digs.

Penn State jumped out to a

Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) was on fire for Penn State, putting down 15 kills on a .500 hitting percentage, while also adding eight digs and a block.

Fellow outside hitter Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) added 11 digs, hitting .455 on the match. She also added five digs and an ace.

Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Co.) added nine kills for Penn State, registering a clip of .500. The middle blocker added three digs, one block and one ace to her stat line.

Washington’s counterpart in the middle, Tori Gorrell (Oakville, Ontario) added five kills, a .500 clip, and a team-best three blocks.

Bryanna Weiskircher (Rockford, Ill.) led the match with 24 assists while adding two service aces and four digs. Fellow setter Abby Detering (Mentor, Ohio) recorded a double-double with 13 assists and a match-high 10 digs. She also tallied two aces, two kills, and two blocks.

The Nittany Lions dished out six service aces in the match, and only committed one service error.

With the win, Penn State advances to their 16th NCAA Regional Final. Their opponent will be determined in the 4 p.m. match as Michigan State and Illinois face off in the second NCAA Third Round match. The Regional Final Match will be at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, on ESPNU.


Courtesy: Missouri Athletics

Mizzou Volleyball (22-12) saw its 2017 campaign conclude Friday (Dec. 8) afternoon inside Rec Hall, following a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-19) straight-set loss to No. 1 Penn State.

For the second consecutive year, the Tigers’ season finale occurred in the NCAA Regional round. In 2016, Mizzou fell 3-1 to No. 2 national seed Minnesota, while dropping today’s match against the No. 1 national seed Nittany Lions. #ShowMe Top Performers
Melanie Crow: 12 kills, 1 assist, 1 dig
Kira Larson: 8 kills, 3 assists, 1 ace, 2 digs, 1 total block
Courtney Eckenrode: 20 assists, 2 kills, 1 ace, 4 digs
Kayla Caffey: 7 kills on .312 hitting, 1 ace, 2 digs, 1 total block
Hear From Head Coach Wayne Kreklow
On today’s match / season reflection…

“Obviously, we’re disappointed with the outcome. We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough task in squaring off against the nation’s No. 1 seed. They’re No. 1 for a reason. They’re really good. They have a lot of good players out there that do a lot of good things. I think it’s a little disappointing, because we all felt that we could’ve played a little better today. We didn’t play our best, but they had a lot to do with that. They served very impressively and kept us out of system a lot. They made it tough to sustain any consistent offensive rhythm.”

“I was really proud though of the way we battled. I’m proud of this season these ladies had. Prior to the match, I looked at the date and saw it was Dec. 8. Four months ago on Aug. 8, we started official practice. It’s a long brutal season. It’s a tough thing to do well and I’m very proud of them for doing it. We made it into elite company, as there was only 16 teams left playing this weekend and we were one of them. They earned it.” #Mizzou Takeaways
The host Nittany Lions dominated on offense over their first set victory, tallying 14 kills on .565 hitting. Four Penn State attackers posted multiple kills over its opening set.
Despite dropping the first set, Sydney Deeken and Caffey tied for the team lead with four kills apiece.
Penn State led much of the second set, but a late mini scoring run by the Tigers pushed the deficit to only 19-16. The Nittany Lions answered in a big way however, outscoring Mizzou 6-2 over the final stretch of the set.
The Nittany Lions’ offense was lights out yet again in the second set, recording 15 kills on .444 hitting. Through two sets played, Penn State had 29 kills on an incredible .500 hitting mark.
Crow led the charge for Mizzou in its second set attack, standing with eight kills on .312 hitting over two sets played.
Crow posted a pair of quick kills in the third set, securing her ninth double-digit kill match this season.
The Tigers’ best performance occurred in set three, highlighted by an early 11-7 advantage over the Nittany Lions. The host Penn State answered in a big way after its early deficit and easily clinched the match with a 25-19 set victory.
The Nittany Lions exceeded .300 hitting over all three sets and finished with 44 kills on .432 hitting overall.
2017 Season Highlights
Mizzou’s 377.5 total blocks and 547 block assists marked new all-time single-season records in program history.
The Tigers’ 2.88 blocks per set (second), 104 solo blocks (seventh), 2,243.5 points (T-9th) and 1,602 assists (10th) also cracked all-time single-season Top-10 record books.
Individually, Alyssa Munlyn’s 189 total blocks, 159 block assists and 1.44 blocks per set each reset all-time records in Tiger history.
Riley Sents tallied 461 digs in her first season as Mizzou’s libero, placing T-9th all-time in Tiger individual single-season digs.
Crow finished her collegiate career with 1,321 kills, ranking ninth all-time on the Mizzou individual career kill list. Additionally, her 1,569.5 career points also ranks ninth-highest in Mizzou history.
Eckenrode’s 3,836 career assists places sixth all-time in Tiger history, while Ali Kreklow’s 1,876 career assists ranks eighth.
The 2017 Tigers’ postseason run marked their 14th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, all coming under the Kreklow’s tenure (2000-present).
Mizzou’s visit to the NCAA Sweet 16 was its fourth all-time NCAA Regional appearance (2005, ’10, ’16-17).
Following four All-SEC recognitions this year, the Kreklow’s have guided 46 all-time All-Conference honorees under their watch.
This week’s All-Region accolades for Larson and Munlyn improved the Kreklow’s all-time AVCA All-Region award winners to 30.
For the fourth consecutive year and 11th time overall since 2000, Mizzou finished with 20-plus wins for the season.


Leave a Reply


About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!