No. 5 Penn State women’s volleyball lost to No. 13 Wisconsin 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 13-25, 13-25) Wednesday night in Madison.
Grace Loberg’s match-high 21 kills helped the Badgers win three straight sets after dropping the opening frame to the Nittany Lions, who hit just .175 to Wisconsin’s .310. Jonni Parker paced Penn State with 15 kills, including nine in the first set.
Kendall White had a team-high 15 digs and three assists and Gabby Blossom tallied a double-double (37 assists, 10 digs), but it wasn’t enough to keep Penn State from getting trounced in the third and fourth sets. Senior defensive specialist Keeton Holcomb, who made her second start of the season, posted six digs and four assists.
Wisconsin saw three players finish with double-digit kills and four more had double-digit digs in what was a thoroughly impressive win in a televised match. Returning All-American Dana Rettke showed why she’s one of the nation’s best middle blockers with 14 kills, six total blocks, and five digs.
On Penn State’s side of the net, sophomore Kaitlyn Hord was efficient with 10 kills on only 16 swings (.562). She also had a team-high five total blocks — a category in which Wisconsin earned a 10-8 advantage. The Badgers one-upped Penn State from the service line as well, notching seven aces to just two for Russ Rose’s squad.
The Nittany Lions (9-3, 2-1 Big Ten) return to Rec Hall Saturday at 7 p.m. when they host Iowa. The Hawkeyes took the first set from Minnesota Wednesday in Iowa City before seeing their lead slip away in a 3-1 loss.