Penn State Sets New Program Record with 3-0 Sweep of LIU Brooklyn

  0 Kaitlynn Bianconi | December 03rd, 2016 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News


Penn State set a new program record after sweeping LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions have swept their first-round opponent for the past 27 consecutive seasons, and haven’t lost a set in the first round since 1989.

Penn State’s huge 3-0 victory (25-8, 25-16, 25-6) advances them to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will face in-state rivals Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday at 6:30 PM.



Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  – The 16-seed Penn State women’s volleyball team (23-9) breezed through the opening round of the NCAA tournament, taking down LIU Brooklyn (16-15) in straight sets, 3-0 (25-8, 25-16, 25-6), inside Rec Hall on Friday evening.

With the sweep of the Blackbirds, Penn State has now swept its opening round opponent for 27 consecutive seasons, not surrendering a single set in the first round of the postseason since 1989.

Penn State advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament following the victory, where the team is set to face Pitt, tomorrow night, at 6:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the regional round, likely to be hosted by nationally top-seeded Nebraska.

The Nittany Lions hit a blistering .403 in the match, committing just seven errors in the entire match. The team saw four players score five or more kills, with junior Simone Lee leading the way with 12. Junior opposite Heidi Thelen added eight on .500 hitting, while junior Ali Frantti and redshirt freshman Tori Gorrell added five apiece.

Following her 12 kills, Lee will likely climb the single-season kills leaderboard during the 25-point rally scoring era tomorrow night, needing just two to tie for fourth, three to tie for third, and four kills to hold sole possession third in the standings.

Lee also added five blocks, tying her career best.

Penn State out-blocked the Blackbirds 10.5-2.0 in the match, with four players posting multi-block outings. Outside of Lee’s performance, Gorrell and junior middle blocker Haleigh Washington added three rejections each. Thelen tagged on a pair as well.

Setter Abby Detering led the offense, posting a match-high 28 assists and 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season and her career. Detering led seven different players to score in the match and tacked on a match-best three aces.

Freshman libero Kendall White had a strong performance in her NCAA tournament debut, leading the back line defense with 18 digs and added an ace.

15 total Penn State players made appearances in the match. Outside hitter Clare Powers made an appearance in the third set, finishing with a .600 hitting percentage, good for second among hitters on the team, scoring three kills on her five attempts.

Penn State was dominant throughout, scoring 11-straight after allowing a kill from LIU in the first point of the match. A block from Washington made the score 16-3 in the first, forcing LIU to use its second timeout. Penn State allowed just five more points in the set as Thelen, Lee, Detering and Washington all scored en route to the 25-8 victory.

Lee and Frantti shone in the second set, combining for seven kill on a combined .333 hitting percentage. Following a 15-8 Penn State lead at the media timeout, the two side battled back and forth before back-to-back kills from Frantti and Lee gave Penn State a 19-13 advantage and led to LIU’s first timeout. The Nittany Lions kept the lead at six, trading points until LIU called for time again six points later, trialing 22-16. A pair of Blackbird errors and a block from Gorrell, Lee and redshirt sophomore Nia Reed capped the second, 25-16.

Penn State rolled in the third set, scoring 13-straight points to open the frame, with three kills from Lee, two from Thelen, and a pair of aces from Detering to cap the run. Back-to-back kills from Powers made the lead 17-3, leading to LIU’s lone timeout in the third. The Blackbirds scored three more times, as a kill from Reed and a final score from Lee sent PSU to the second round with a 25-6 set three victory.


– No. 16 Penn State defeated LIU Brooklyn during the first round of the NCAA tournament in three sets (25-8,25-16,25-6).
– PSU advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament facing off against Pitts tomorrow at 6:3- p.m.
– With the sweep, Penn State has swept its last 27 opening round opponents in the NCAA tournament.
– Junior Simone Lee posted double figure kills to lead the offense with 12 kills. Junior Heidi Thelen finished second on the team tallying eight kills. Junior Ali Frantti and redshirt freshman Tori Gorrell finished third with five kills apiece.
– Junior Abby Detering recorded her sixth double-double performance of the season with 28 assists and 10 digs.
– The Nittany Lions out-dug the Blackbirds 45-29, led by a match-high 18 digs from freshman Kendall White.
– Penn State out-blocked LIU Brooklyn 10.5 – 2.0 with multi-block performance by four different Nittany Lions. Junior Simone Lee led the blocking unit recording a career-high five blocks.
– PSU out-aced LIU Brooklyn 5-2 thanks to service aces from three Nittany Lions. Junior Abby Detering led the way registering three service aces.


– Penn State moves to 8-0 in the all-time series against LIU Brooklyn and 7-0 in matches played at home in Rec Hall.


Simone Lee, junior outside hitter: Lee charted a team-high 12 kills and recorded a career-high five blocks with four solo stuffs. She also posted three digs and served up an ace.
Kendall White, freshman defense specialist: White notched 18 digs to lead the defense and added two assists and one service ace.
Heidi Thelen, junior middle blocker: Thelen finished second on the team notching eight kills. She matched a career-high mark with three digs and added two blocks.
Abby Detering, junior setter: Detering passed out 28 assists and 10 digs, marking the sixth double-double performance of her career. She also led the team from the service line with three aces.
Ali Frantti, junior outside hitter: Frantti put down five kills and tallied six digs and two assists.
Tori Gorrell, redshirt freshman middle hitter: Gorrell logged five kills on eight errorless swings on .625 hitting. She also added three blocks including a solo stuff.

Follow Penn State on Facebook, Twitter @PennStateVBALL and Instagram @pennstatevball

Courtesy of LIU Brooklyn Athletics

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The LIU Brooklyn volleyball team had their 2016 season come to a close in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday night, as the Blackbirds fell to No. 16 seed Penn State, 3-0 (25-8, 25-16, 25-6).

LIU struggled with hitting as a team, with 25 total errors in the match, and a -.040 attack percentage. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions, who rank fifth in the nation in hitting percentage, hit .403 against the Blackbirds. PSU also out-blocked the Blackbirds 10-2, and had 45 digs to LIU’s 29.

The second set was a highlight for the Blackbirds. LIU opened with a block from sophomore Jiayi Zhang and freshman Katharina Krepper, and the Blackbirds stayed close from there. A kill from senior Alex Larsen kept it close, 2-3. Penn State would answer by scoring four straight points to widen the gap to 7-2. The Blackbirds stayed in the set thanks to kills from Zhang and Sonja Vukosavljevic.

A kill from junior Alexandra Lilliquist and a service ace from Larsen were a part of a 3-0 run that helped LIU close the gap to 12-16, but PSU would finish the set on a 4-0 run, including two LIU attack errors to take the set win, 25-16.

The Nittany Lions hit .476 in the third set, opening on a 13-0 run, and eventually took the set win, 25-6, and the match, 3-0. With the victory, Penn State advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they will take on Pittsburgh.

Sophomore Jiayi Zhang led LIU with eight kills, while senior Alex Larsen had a team-high seven digs and four kills. The 2016 Northeast Conference champions finish the season with a 16-15 overall record, 10-4 in NEC action.

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