Penn State Gets 5th-Straight Sweep
We called a 3-2 Penn State win over Minnesota. Well, we were right about the “3” — partial credit? The #2-ranked Nittany Lions (24-2, 15-1 in the B1G) played impressively in sweeping #11 Minnesota (23-6, 11-5 in the B1G) in straight sets (25-20, 25-17, 25-23), its 15th straight win since opening its Big Ten season with a five-set loss to Michigan State.
6-4 Sr. RS/Opp Ariel Scott led the team with 14 kills (.379 attack %), followed by 6-1 Sr. OH Deja McClendon with 11 kills (.409 attack %). 5-11 Jr. setter Micha Hancock had yet another solid performance, directing the offense to a .304 attack %, with 41 assists, 4 kills, 4 blocks and 4 digs. Although Hancock only had one service ace, it tied her with Ellen Hensler (1983-1986) for the Penn State all-time record of 235 career service aces (with over a year still to play). Hensler played from 1983 to 1986 (and was a teammate of Lori Barberich Rose in 1983 and 1984). Congrats Micha! 6-2 So. OH Megan Courtney registered 9 kills and 9 digs, while 5-6 Jr. libero Dominique Gonzalez also had nine digs. 6-6 Sr. MH Katie Slay had 8 total blocks (one solo), as Penn State limited the Gophers to a .207 attack %.
Are the Nittany Lions Getting Their Arms Around Their Roles?
First, full disclosure. We used this joke (and photo) last year. But it’s a great photo, and hey, it’s a free site and our slacker staff of researchers and statisticians told us “You want original, do something original. Like pay us!” So here we are. Again.
As to the question, it does appear that having settled into a reasonably stable lineup, the Penn State players are getting comfortable with what the coaching staff asks each of them to accomplish. Certainly, five-straight sweeps — versus Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota — is impressive. And with their depth, if one player is off, there are others ready and able to jump in. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here — repeat after us, there is no such thing as a B1G Easy — but this is a very good Penn State team with a legitimate shot of making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
(Courtesy of GoPSUsports.com)