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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Starts Slow as Freshmen Adjust

September 14, 2011

 
                                          Penn State, off to its slowest start in 28 years, is looking for leaders.

With a 4-3 record (its slowest start since 1983, according to an article by Stephen Pianovich of the Daily Collegian) and sitting at the bottom of the Big Ten standings (OK, not really the Big Ten standings, given that the Big Ten season hasn’t started yet, but they have the worst record so far), Penn State isn’t quite up to tempo. 

In fact, as Russ Rose noted in an interview with Matt Howland of the Daily Collegian, as a team, it’s missing a few beats.  

Even though you might have been the leader of your high school or your club team, you go into a college situation where most of the players are deferring instead of stepping up and doing things.  I recruit kids and I expect them to be able to come in and play. I think what has enabled the top teams in the country to maintain being the top teams is the young kids that they recruit are able to come in, adapt, and some teams don’t miss a beat. Right now, we’re missing a number of beats.

Missing beats.  Out of synch.  Bad connection.  Two words come to mind: youth and inexperience.  Here’s Coach Rose again, from the Matt Howland article:

We’ve got a lot of young kids out there playing, and I think they’re a little hesitant to be as aggressive as they need to be to make the good decisions. Those things will probably develop with time, but until that happens, it’s a struggle, for sure.

To underscore just how young and inexperienced this team really is, take a look at Penn State’s statistical leaders through the Texas match in the Tables below: Attack Leaders – all sophomores and freshmen; Set/Serve leaders – one junior, one sophomore, one freshman; Recept/Dig leaders – one junior, three sophomores, two freshmen; Block/Points leaders – four sophomores, three freshmen.

That’s youth (and inexperience). 

Attack Leaders - 2011

#
Name
Class
SP
MP
MS
K
K/Set
E
TA
Pct.
18McClendon, DejaSo.12233334323.541441090.264
1Scott, ArielSo.11833314183.541361083.260
16Slay, KatieSo.12233332572.1163502.386
14Whitney, AiyanaFr.652401131.7451320.194
6Martin, MaddieSo.9833241411.4460410.198
7Grant, NiaFr.11732321511.2944309.346
12Hancock, MichaFr.12133321100.9134246.309
Teamn/a1223333167613.745644159.267
Opponentsn/a1223333137711.296844077.170

Set/Serve Leaders - 2011

#
Name
Class
SP
MP
MS
Ast
Ast/S
SA
SA/Set
SE
12Hancock, MichaFr.1213332127510.54910.7576
23Longo, AliSo.117330900.77320.2730
5Carpenter, KristinJr.100334760.76140.1437
4Gonzalez, DominiqueFr.84296190.2380.1021
33Fuller, LaceyFr.6730040.0670.106
n/aTeamn/a1223333154912.702091.71288
n/aOpponentsn/a1223333129310.601130.93202

Recept/Dig Leaders - 2011

#
Name
Class
SP
MP
MS
RE
Dig
Dig/Set
23Longo, AliSo.117330193973.39
12Hancock, MichaFr.121333242792.31
18McClendon, DejaSo.1223333222452.01
5Carpenter, KristinJr.100334121821.82
6Martin, MaddieSo.983324211561.59
4Gonzalez, DominiqueFr.84296101231.46
33Fuller, LaceyFr.6730013590.88
Teamn/a1223333113172914.17
Opponentsn/a1223333209167113.70

Blocking Leaders - 2011

#
Name
Class
SP
MP
MS
BS
BA
Total
B/S
BE
BHE
16Slay, KatieSo.1223333271461731.42113
7Grant, NiaFr.117323213941070.9140
1Scott, ArielSo.1183331581860.7321
18McClendon, DejaSo.12233331348610.5063
12Hancock, MichaFr.1213332554590.49919
Teamn/a122333376503327.52.684031
Opponentsn/a122333351341221.51.826939

 

Video Interview with Lacey Fuller

Oh, and here’s Lacey Fuller in a “Tuesday Talk” video interview with the Daily Collegian:

 

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2 Responses to Penn State Women’s Volleyball Starts Slow as Freshmen Adjust

  1. tboyer on September 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Good stuff. Of all these stats it seems to be the decline in blocking is the biggest problem that needs to be corrected. This team has too much size and blocking ability to not be a good blocking team. It will be very disappointing if the block does not improve markedly.

    It’s a little bit misleading to characterize it as a historic slow start. At this point in the season they have played an unusual number of games against top caliber competition — USC, TX, Stanford. In past years they wouldn’t have played this many top 10 teams right at the beginning of the season. They’ve also had some great sets, just not great matches, so they are not without ability.

    A lot of the top teams in VB are struggling a bit, but I would bet PSU is the youngest team of all the major programs this year. That they would struggle is completely understandable. Rose is saying he understands but he still expects them to grow up fast and produce.

    With the B10 slate starting with Nebraska, this team has to get its act together fast or it could be a shocking year for PSU fans. There is not that much distance between playing in the final rounds of the NCAA tournament and, say, not making the top 5 in the B10. The B10 is that good.

    • nyline on September 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      I agree with all your points (particularly your take on the “historic slow start” line, even though I included it in the article). I do think the backrow and setting/connection issues appear to be very troublesome too (which I’m guessing are two issues Coach Rose is referring to when he talks about lack of communication and connection). Not that you’re suggesting this, but a loss to Nebraska won’t spell doom for the season, but a few more losses and, as you point out, Penn State could find itself looking up at the top half of the Big Ten from a spot in the bottom half.



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