No. 4 Penn State women’s volleyball swept Rutgers 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 26-24) Wednesday night at Rec Hall.
Nia Reed and Jonni Parker combined for 21 kills in the victory — Penn State’s seventh straight in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions (16-3) hit .542 as a team in a somewhat lopsided first set. They travel to Piscataway Saturday to face Rutgers again at 7 p.m.
Redshirt senior setter Bryanna Weiskircher set a new career high with six kills on top of her match-high 33 assists and six digs. Taylor Leath, Tori Gorrell, Serena Gray, Kaitlyn Hord, and Allyson Cathey combined for 16 kills to round out the scoring.
After missing the last two matches, Hord got the start at middle blocker against the Scarlet Knights. Head coach Russ Rose was diligent about getting her some rest and gave Gorrell plenty of playing time. Gorrell finished with five kills (.429) and two blocks.
Kendall White delivered a match-high 11 digs and a season-high six assists for the Nittany Lions, while freshmen Jenna Hampton and Gabby Blossom tallied three digs apiece. Hampton led all players with two service aces Wednesday night.
Coach Rose on the win:
“It wasn’t surprised that there was going to be a letdown in some energy based on how well we played a couple nights ago and how electric the building was. [We knew] that we were going to be battling in kind of a different environment, as well as having a different environment in a couple of days when we go play Rutgers at Rutgers.”
“I didn’t think that we would be as flat after the first game, but practice over the last couple days wasn’t great. When you have a lot of young people, that’s a lot of ups and downs. I thought we had a lot more downs than ups from some specific players, but that’s how it is. Some days people play great and some days they’re having a hard time getting out of their own way.”
Coach Rose on Rutgers:
“I thought they warmed up and they were playing a lot better. I thought we played really well in the first game and hit .500. Other than the fact that we missed three or four serves, I thought we were doing a real nice job controlling the ball. We hit .100 in the next game and then in the third game they started to take some good swings and control the ball better. Any team can win deuce games. We had two deuce games with Nebraska a couple days ago. The home team wins a good number of those, sometimes by skill, sometimes by will, and sometimes by luck.”
Coach Rose on regrouping after big matches:
“Over the course of the years that I’ve been here, when I’ve had mature teams, they were able to handle those sort of challenges and that’s what made them mature teams. This team is really just filled with so many young people who don’t know what they don’t know, that it’s hard to predict on a day-to-day basis what you can get in a level of performance and energy.
“I think that was as much the factor tonight as anything else. We made a lot more errors per game today than we did against Nebraska. If we’re making a lot of errors, we’re increasing the risk of losing, regardless of who the opponent is.”
Bryanna Weiskircher on Tori Gorrell’s performance:
“Tori just has a lot of energy. We’ve been together for a few years now, so we’ve been able to run a few different things that we can’t necessarily run with some of the younger kids, just because we haven’t had that ridiculous amount of time that we’ve had together.
“If I tell her she’s running this, I know she’s already going to be there and don’t have to worry about it. Her energy and her confidence when she does go to swing and takes a rip at it — and then when she gets the kill and she’s just bouncy and giving high-fives — that’s really important to have.”