Category Archives: Match Previews

Game Day: Penn State vs. Illinois (with “Differential Equations” and “What Have You Done for me Lately?”)

Lioness looking up

 

Penn State vs. Illinois

(Penn State’s Senior Night: Thanks to all of you!!!! Really!!!!)

Lion Cubs - Two

800px-Champaign-Urbana_area_IMG_1131

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where: University Park, PA (Rec Hall)

When: Saturday — 11-23-13 (7:30 p.m. ET)

Media: CBSsports.com’sGameTracker


Beatrice_the_Honey_Bee_(7836716730) The Buzz on Illinois: Because of the crazy tough pre-conference schedule Illinois put together this season (using AVCA poll rankings from 11-18-13 they faced #19 Florida State (W 3-0), #16 Kentucky (W 3-2), #9 San Diego (L 1-3), #24 Iowa State (W 3-0), #3 Washington (L 1-3), #1 Texas (L 2-3), #14 North Carolina (L 0-3) and #13 Duke (L 1-3)), we’ve asked more than once if Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly is crazy. 

Now that Illinois is 15-12, has won six straight matches, is in 4th place in the B1G with an 11-6 conference record, and is sitting on the #20 AVCA ranking, it’s looking like he’s crazy like a fox.  In Illinois’s last five matches (including last night’s 3-1 win over Ohio State), they have hit .224 (vs. Ohio State), .369 (vs. Purdue), .281 (vs. Indiana), .271 (vs. Michigan State), and .274 (vs. Michigan).

During the four matches prior to the Ohio State match, 6-3 RS Jr. MB Anna Dorn hit .433 (compared to .322 for the season overall prior to Ohio State), 6-2 RS So. OH Jocelynn Birks hit .237 (versus .178 for the season prior to Ohio State), 6-6 Jr. OH Liz McMahon hit .268 (she was at .207 for the season prior to Ohio State ), 6-1 Jr. OH Morganne Criswell hit .331 (her season attack % was .249 prior to Ohio State), and 6-4 RS Fr. MB Maddie Mayers has hit .323 (compared to her overall attack % of .257 prior to Ohio State).

Beatrice_the_Honey_Bee_(7836716730) The Buzz on Penn State: Penn State is on a 16-match win streak. After five consecutive sweeps,  it took a great match by 6-2 So. OH Megan Courtney (21 kills on .356 hitting, 17 digs), and contributions from a host of other Nittany Lions, for Penn State to get the win against a gritty and determined Northwestern team that, after dropping the first two sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-18, refused to lose, grabbed the third set 33-31, and had a real chance of winning the fourth set with the score sitting at 21-20.

In the end, Courtney closed out the match with a kill that gave the Nittany Lions the fourth set, 25-20.  Courtney may have had the most eye-catching stats, but it was a team effort by the Nittany Lions that won the day.  Among the other key performers were 6-1 Sr. OH Deja McClendon (16 kills and 11 digs), 6-4 Sr. RS/Opp  Ariel Scott (11 kills, .300 hitting), 6-2 Jr. MH Nia Grant (11 kills, .529 attack % — tops for the match), 5-6 Jr. libero Dominique Gonzalez (24 digs — her best this season), and 5-11 Jr. setter Micha Hancock (41 assists, 2 service aces, which gives her 237 service aces for her career, and breaks the Penn State career mark previously held by Ellen Hensler who played from 1983-1986).

So,  lately Penn State has been doing a lot of things very well.  In their last four matches, they have team attack percentages of  .344 (vs. Northwestern), .304 (vs. Minnesota), .220 (vs. Wisconsin), and .427 (vs. Indiana).  For individual Penn State player performances, check out the box scores for each of those matches (which appear after the three “Differential Equations” tables below, in our “What Have You Done for me Lately” section). 

Q& A with Club Coach

DigNittany: We’re talking with Club Coach, who has coached numerous highly successful college and club women’s volleyball players.  Two questions occurred to us as we looked at the individual statistics for Illinois.  First, shouldn’t we just throw Illinois’s season statistics out the window, given that this sure looks like a much better team than the one that took Penn State to five sets on October 18th in Huff Hall? And second, what the heck happened to the Illini? Below is Club Coach’s take on the Illini.

Club Coach: You can throw out what happened five days ago in the B1G. In a two-week cycle MSU went from getting votes for #1 in the country to being on life support.  Two weeks ago Illinois was counting on their fingers to find out how many matches they needed to be NCAA eligible, now their counting on their fingers to see what seed they will be.

DigNittany: When you spoke with us before that October 18th match in Huff Hall, you said that when you looked at Illinois’s offense, it was their lack of balance that hurt them – that they had two great offensive players in Jocelynn Birks and Liz McMahon, but that without other viable options, opponent defenses were able focus on them, to anticipate where the point of attack would be coming from, and generally put up a solid block.   In that match, 6-1 Jr. OH Morganne Criswell pretty much went nuts, as she put down 21 kills on 40 attempts, with five attack errors for a .400 attack % for the match, and, as noted above, she’s hitting .331 in her last four matches.  How big has her development been for Illinois?

Club Coach:   Anytime you have a player emerge as someone who can score points, you instantly become a different team. It changes how teams prepare, other players get better because of the energy and attention other teams have to spend on that player. It is a deal changer. The RS player at Minnesota has done that for them for certain.  It isn’t just that Criswell is better, McMahon and Birks are better because Criswell is better.  Penn State is a great example; the toughest thing about the Nittany Lions is that you can’t put all your eggs in one basket in trying to defend them – there are too many players who can get it done. Although Illinois isn’t quite in the same boat, another arm makes them a different and better team. 

DigNittany:  On a related note, you commented before the October 18th Penn State-Illinois match that you didn’t think Illinois had been a particularly strong passing team, and that if Penn State could serve them tough and manage their free passes, Illinois would struggle.

We don’t know whether, or how much, their passing has improved, but we can say that in the past four matches, Illinois has 10 serve receive errors (.67 per set) compared to 109 for the season overall (1.1 per set).  Granted, four matches is a pretty small sample size, but the trend is in the right direction.  Any thoughts on Illinois passing and serve receive?

Club Coach: The Illini are certainly passing better, although I wouldn’t consider them a strong passing team.  I am really impressed, however, with how well their OH’s can score off the block when they are out of system.  That certainly puts less stress on Illinois needing to pass well.

DigNittany: So, it will be senior night for Penn State, with a lot on the line in so many ways for both teams.  What’s your call?

Club Coach: Illinois is red hot and very confident right now, and there is going to be a #1 seed shipped to Illinois who is gonna have their hands full.  Having said that, I believe PSU is playing their best as well, and I like the ponies they have in their barn better. PSU in 3!

DigNittany: Thanks, as always.  Much appreciated.

Differential Equations: Penn State and Illinois 

 

Stat Joust - Penn State vs. Illinois: Attack (11-18-13)

Team
SP
Kills
Kills/Set
Att
Err
TA
Hit
Pct.
Penn State
90124813.873452845.317
Illinois100124312.435063475.212
Opponents
Penn State

9094110.465582914.131
Opponents
Illinois
100133913.395713669.209
Differential
Penn State

903073.41-213-69.186
Differential
Illinois
100-96-0.96-65-194.003

 

Stat Joust - Penn State vs. Illinois: Serving (11-18-13)

Team
SP
SA
SA/Set
SE
SE/Set
Differential
SA/Set
minus
SE/Set
Penn State
901261.401892.10-0.70
Illinois100970.971881.88-0.91
Opponents
Penn State

90340.381591.77-1.39
Opponents
Illinois
1001091.091951.95-0.86

 

Stat Joust - Penn State vs. Illinois: Blocking (11-18-13)

Team
SP
Block
Solo
Block
Asst.
Total
Blk.
Blks/
Set
Blk
Err
Penn State9077410282.03.1351
Illinois10026424238.02.3863
Opponents
Penn State
9029222140.01.5644
Opponents
Illinois
10031420241.02.4150
Differential
Penn State
9048188142.01.587
Differential
Illinois
100-54-3-0.0313

 

 

 

What Have You Done for Me Lately, Penn State?

 

November 22, 2013 vs. Northwestern at Rec Hall: Won 3-1

  Penn State      ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
1   Scott, Ariel   11  30  .300  11.0 
7   Grant, Nia   11  17  .529  15.5 
12  Hancock, Micha   .444  63  7.5 
16  Slay, Katie   17  .471  11.5 
17  Courtney, Megan   21  45  .356  17  21.0 
18  McClendon, Deja   16  42  .238  11  18.0 
2   Caraway, Lara   .000  0.0 
3   Pierce, Kendall   .000  0.0 
4   Gonzalez, Dominique   .000  24  0.0 
6   Martin, Maddie   .000  0.0 
9   Prieto Cerame, P.   .000  0.0 
15  Harding, Maggie   .000  0.0 
33  Fuller, Lacey   .000  0.0 
  Totals  72  16  163  .344  70  10  72  13  84.5 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 8.5
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
17  35  .400  13-17   76% 
16  35  .314  13-19   68% 
23  60  .300  20-32   62% 
16  33  .394  14-21   66% 
          60-89   67% 

 

November 16, 2013 vs. Minnesota at Minneapolis: W 3-0

SET SCORES     TEAM RECORDS 
Penn State   (3)  25  25  25     24-2, 15-1 Big Ten  
Minnesota   (0)  20  17  23     23-6, 11-5 Big Ten  
   Penn State      ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
1   Scott, Ariel   14  29  .379  15.5 
7   Grant, Nia   13  .308  7.0 
12  Hancock, Micha   10  .200  41  7.0 
16  Slay, Katie   16  .312  11.5 
17  Courtney, Megan   25  .160  9.5 
18  McClendon, Deja   11  22  .409  12.5 
3   Pierce, Kendall   .000  0.0 
4   Gonzalez, Dominique   .000  0.0 
6   Martin, Maddie   .000  0.0 
9   Prieto Cerame, P.   .000  0.0 
33  Fuller, Lacey   .000  0.0 
  Totals  50  15  115  .304  45  43  18  63.0 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 10.0
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
16  40  .275  14-20   69% 
17  34  .412  16-18   88% 
17  41  .244  15-23   65% 
          45-61   73%

November 15, 2013 vs. Wisconsin at Madison: W 3-0

SET SCORES     TEAM RECORDS 
Penn State   (3)  25  27  25     23-2, 14-1  
Wisconsin   (0)  23  25  16     19-8, 8-7
   Penn State      ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
1   Scott, Ariel   29  .207  9.0 
7   Grant, Nia   16  .312  8.0 
12  Hancock, Micha   .375  32  12  6.5 
16  Slay, Katie   10  .200  8.0 
17  Courtney, Megan   15  30  .400  11  16.5 
18  McClendon, Deja   30  .067  15  11.0 
3   Pierce, Kendall   .000  1.0 
4   Gonzalez, Dominique   -.500  1.0 
6   Martin, Maddie   .000  0.0 
14  Whitney, Aiyana   -.500  0.0 
33  Fuller, Lacey   .000  0.0 
  Totals  45  17  127  .220  41  62  20  61.0 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 12.0
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
13  35  .171  15-23   65% 
18  48  .292  16-26   61% 
14  44  .182  10-16   62% 
          41-65   63% 

November 9, 2013 vs. Indiana at Rec Hall: W 3-0

SET SCORES     TEAM RECORDS 
Indiana   (0)  16  11  11     10-16, 1-13  
Penn State   (3)  25  25  25     22-2, 13-1  
   Penn State      ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
1   Scott, Ariel   12  .417  5.5 
7   Grant, Nia   .286  4.5 
12  Hancock, Micha   .600  26  9.0 
16  Slay, Katie   14  .429  9.0 
17  Courtney, Megan   14  .286  8.0 
18  McClendon, Deja   14  .643  10.5 
2   Caraway, Lara   .000  0.0 
3   Pierce, Kendall   .000  0.0 
4   Gonzalez, Dominique   .000  0.0 
6   Martin, Maddie   .000  0.0 
9   Prieto Cerame, P.   .600  7.0 
10  Muller, Carley   .000  0.0 
13  Krause, Taylor   .000  0.0 
14  Whitney, Aiyana   .333  1.0 
15  Harding, Maggie   .000  0.0 
23  Robertson, Kelly   -1.000  1.0 
24  Broerman, Laura   .000  1.0 
33  Fuller, Lacey   .000  1.0 
  Totals  37  75  .427  34  30  15  57.5 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 15.5
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
15  27  .444  11-16   68% 
12  23  .478  10-12   83% 
10  25  .360  8-11   72% 
          29-39   74%

What Have You Done for me Lately, Illinois?

 

November 22, 2013 @ Ohio State: W 3-1

   Illinois      ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
5   Dorn, Anna   .286  4.5 
6   Mayers, Maddie   17  .118  9.5 
7   Birks, Jocelynn   15  51  .235  18.5 
8   Viliunas, Alexis   .500  38  16  2.0 
10  Davis, Danielle   .000  12  1.0 
14  McMahon, Liz   10  32  .188  10.5 
1   Criswell, Morganne   15  42  .238  15.0 
3   Beltran, Jennifer   1.000  13  2.0 
12  Stadick, Katie   .000  0.0 
13  Stark, Ali   .000  11  0.0 
18  Abrahamovich, Court.  .000  2.0 
  Totals  50  16  152  .224  49  66  16  65.0 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 9.0
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
15  39  .231  12-20   60% 
37  .108  10-25   40% 
15  46  .217  13-21   61% 
12  30  .367  13-21   61% 
          48-87   55% 

Nov. 16, 2013 vs. Purdue at Huff Hall: W 3-0

SET SCORES    1    2    3     TEAM RECORDS 
Purdue                (0)  18  18  21     16-11, 7-9 Big Ten   
Illinois              (3)  25  25  25     14-12, 10-6 Big Ten  
   Illinois                 ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
5   Dorn, Anna            .400  5.0 
6   Mayers, Maddie        10  .700  9.5 
7   Birks, Jocelynn       10  26  .192  13.0 
8   Viliunas, Alexis      -.500  33  2.0 
10  Davis, Danielle       .000  1.0 
14  McMahon, Liz          10  18  .500  12.5 
1   Criswell, Morganne    12  23  .391  13.0 
3   Beltran, Jennifer     .000  10  0.0 
13  Stark, Ali            .000  1.0 
18  Abrahamovich, Court.  .000  0.0 
  Totals  42  11  84  .369  40  36  18  57.0 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 10.0
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
15  27  .444  15-19   78% 
13  28  .357  13-18   72% 
14  29  .310  13-22   59% 
          41-59   69% 

Nov. 15, 2013 vs. Indiana at Huff Hall: W 3-0

SET SCORES    1    2    3     TEAM RECORDS 
Indiana               (0)  26  18  22     9-17, 1-14 Big Ten   
Illinois              (3)  28  25  25     13-12, 9-6 Big Ten   
   Illinois                 ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
5   Dorn, Anna            .286  4.5 
7   Birks, Jocelynn       12  38  .211  15.5 
8   Viliunas, Alexis      .000  33  14  2.5 
10  Davis, Danielle       .000  0.0 
12  Stadick, Katie        .333  5.5 
14  McMahon, Liz          13  32  .281  14.0 
1   Criswell, Morganne    13  26  .385  14.0 
3   Beltran, Jennifer     .000  13  0.0 
6   Mayers, Maddie        .000  0.0 
13  Stark, Ali            .000  0.0 
18  Abrahamovich, Court.  .000  0.0 
  Totals  45  13  114  .281  43  11  44  16  56.0 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 8.0
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
18  41  .317  16-26   61% 
14  36  .306  16-19   84% 
13  37  .216  14-22   63% 
          46-67   68% 

Nov. 9, 2013 vs. Michigan State at Huff Hall: W 3-1

SET SCORES    1    2    3    4     TEAM RECORDS 
Michigan State        (1)  19  25  17  19     19-7, 8-6 Big Ten    
Illinois              (3)  25  21  25  25     12-12, 8-6 Big Ten   
   Illinois                 ATTACK  SET  SERVE  SRV  DEF  BLOCK  GEN    
##  Player  SP  TA  PCT  SA  SE  RE  DIG  BS  BA  BE  BHE  Points 
5   Dorn, Anna            .857  9.5 
6   Mayers, Maddie        .000  2.0 
7   Birks, Jocelynn       21  53  .264  10  21.5 
8   Viliunas, Alexis      .000  39  2.5 
10  Davis, Danielle       .000  15  2.0 
14  McMahon, Liz          15  30  .367  18.0 
1   Criswell, Morganne    33  .152  9.5 
3   Beltran, Jennifer     1.000  21  1.0 
12  Stadick, Katie        .333  1.5 
13  Stark, Ali            .000  11  3.0 
18  Abrahamovich, Court.  .000  1.0 
  Totals  55  17  140  .271  49  74  17  71.5 
  
  TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 9.5
TEAM ATTACK BY SET 
Set  TA  Pct  Sideout  Pct 
17  38  .316  13-19   68% 
34  .118  13-25   51% 
13  28  .393  10-17   58% 
16  40  .275  15-20   75% 
          51-81   62%

Rosters

Illinois Roster

 

Coaches

No.   Name   Ht. Position   Class Hometown (Last School)
1   Morganne Criswell   6-1 OH   JR Decatur, Ill. (Lutheran School Association)
2   Julia Conard   5-10 DS   SO West Chicago, Ill. (West Chicago)
3   Jennifer Beltran   5-9 L   SR Reseda, Calif. (Marymount)
4   Michelle Strizak   6-1 OH   FR Cincinnati, Ohio (Mount Notre Dame)
5   Anna Dorn   6-3 MB   RS JR Munster, Ind. (Munster)
6   Maddie Mayers   6-4 MB   RS FR Fort Wayne, Ind. (Bishop Dwenger)
7   Jocelynn Birks   6-2 OH   RS SO Willow Springs, Ill. (Lyons Township)
8   Alexis Viliunas   6-1 S   SO La Grange, Ill. (Lyons Township)
10   Danielle Davis   5-9 DS   FR Bloomington, Ill. (Central Catholic)
11   Katie Roustio   6-2 OH   FR O’Fallon, Ill. (O’Fallon Township)
12   Katie Stadick   6-3 MB   FR Watertown, Wis. (Watertown Unified)
13   Ali Stark   6-1 OH   RS SO Mount Vernon, Iowa (Mount Vernon)
14   Liz McMahon   6-6 OH   JR Liberty Township, Ohio (Lakota West)
16   McKenna Kelsay   5-7 S/DS   FR Wheaton, Ill. (St. Francis)
17   Kathryn Polkoff   6-4 MB   SO Wilmette, Ill. (New Trier)
18   Courtney Abrahamovich   5-8 DS   SR Naperville, Ill. (Naperville Central)

Penn State Roster

Penn State 2013 Team Roster

Number
Name
Position
Year/Class
Height
Hometown
State/Nation
1Scott, Ariel

RS4/Sr.6-4RidgewoodNew Jersey
2Caraway, LaraDS2/So.5-4Evans CityPennsylvania
3Pierce, KendallDS2/So.5-6EdenNew York
4Gonzalez, DominiqueDS3/Jr.5-6San AntonioTexas
6Martin, MaddieOH4/Sr.6-2TampaFlorida
7Grant, NiaOH3/Jr.6-2WarrenOhio
8Denny, Erica
MH3/Jr. (RS)6-5CentennialColorado
9Prieto Cerame, PaulinaOH1/Fr. (RS)6-2MiamiFlorida
10Muller, CarleyDS1/Fr.5-7Manhattan BeachCalifornia
12Hancock, MichaS3/Jr.5-11EdmondOklahoma
13Krause, TaylorDS/S1/Fr.5-6AllentownPennsylvania
14Whitney, AiyanaOH2/So. (RS)6-5RidgewoodNew Jersey
15Harding, MaggieDS4/Sr.5-6State CollegePennsylvania
16Slay, Katie
MH4/Sr.6-6RaleighNorth Carolina
17Courtney, Megan
S/OH2/So.6-2DaytonOhio
18McClendon, Deja

OH4/Sr.6-1LouisvilleKentucky
23Robertson, KellyMB1/Fr.6-0AllentownPennsylvania
24Broerman, LauraDS1/Fr.5-4Colorado Springs Colorado
33Fuller, LaceyDS3/Jr.5-6San DiegoCalifornia

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                    What: Penn State vs. Minnesota Where: University Park, PA (Rec Hall) When: Saturday — 10-9-13 (7:30 p.m. ET) Media: TV: Big Ten Network;  CBSsports GameTracker At DigNittanyVolleyball, we are prediction averse — perhaps because we are not particularly good at it.  That does not stop usContinue Reading

Game Day: Penn State (0-1) vs. Michigan (0-1) (Oh My!)

Penn State vs. Michigan Where: Rec Hall When: Saturday — 9-28-13 (7:30 p.m. ET) Media: TV: Big Ten Network; CBSSports.com GameTracker The Buzz on Michigan: 10th-ranked Michigan (11-2 after last night’s loss to #13-ranked Ohio State  (13-0) in Columbus) moves on to Rec Hall tonight to see which team can salvage a 1-1 weekend, and which team will start the season 0-2Continue Reading