Penn State increased its Big Ten winning streak to 29 matches and upped its overall winning streak to 42 contests dating back to a five-game loss to Stanford in New Haven, Conn., on Sept. 15, 2007. Within the friendly confines of Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions have won their last 46 consecutive matches and have claimed 77 of their last 80 matches at home.
"I thought this was another really good offensive night," said head coach Russ Rose. "Alyssa (D'Errico) passed well and Alisha (Glass) set well. We were in-system most of the night, which puts pressure in the other side of the net and gives us a lot of offensive options."
Senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) led all players with 14 kills on .545 hitting as junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) chipped in 10 kills. Sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) provided the Lions with seven kills as senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) and sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) both contributed six kills. The Nittany Lions attacked at a .424 clip, Penn State's ninth match of hitting .400 or better this season.
Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) directed the offense with 35 assists and was perfect on all four of her attacks. Sophomore libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) picked up a career-high 13 digs as Glass posted six while Hodge and Fawcett both tallied five. Fawcett also added both of Penn State's service aces.
The Nittany Lions claimed the blocking battle, 9.0 to 6.0, led by Harmotto with six, including two solo efforts. Brown posted three stuffs as Glass, Hodge and Wilson all added in two blocks.
Megan Schatzle and Vanessa King led Michigan State with six kills apiece while Becca Zlabis added in four. Natalie Emro dished out 20 assists and Allyson Karaba picked up nine digs as Vineece Verdun led the blocking front with three stuffs.
Penn State used four blocks to take the 6-2 lead to open up the match before a Fawcett kill made it 11-6. Two Hodge kills put the Lions up 14-8 and a kill from Brown extended the score to 17-10. Strong serving from sophomore Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and kills from Hodge, Fawcett, Harmotto and Glass along with a monster Harmotto and Glass block aided Penn State in making a 9-1 run to close out the game, 25-11. The Lions held the Spartans to only two kills in the set while giving Michigan State six of its 11 points on service errors. But Fawcett and Brown connected on four attacks each as Hodge added in three kills while Penn State as a team connected on 16-of-23 attacks with only two errors to hit .609.
The Nittany Lions again jumped out to the early 13-6 lead on a Brown kill and a Hodge put-away giving Penn State the 18-12 advantage. The teams traded points twice before three consecutive Fawcett kills extended the Lion lead to 22-14. Kills from Wilson and Brown pushed the score to 24-17 before a Hodge kill ended the game, 25-19. Fawcett and Hodge each tallied five kills as D'Errico picked up four digs.
The third game remained even early on, with a Wilson kill breaking the 9-9 tie. From that point on, the Nittany Lions caught fire, with a Fawcett kill and a solo Hodge block sparking a 7-0 Penn State run encompassing two Fawcett service aces to push the Lions up 17-9. Harmotto posted a kill and a solo block to push the lead to 21-11 before three Fawcett kills helped Penn State claim the 25-14 win. Fawcett collected five kills as Wilson posted four and Harmotto chipped in three.
Penn State heads west to face Iowa and No. 13 Minnesota next weekend. The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes square off on Friday, Oct. 10 at 7:00 p.m. CT (8:00 p.m. ET) before the Lions take on the Golden Gophers on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 6:00 p.m. CT (7:00 p.m. ET) in Williams Arena live on the Big Ten Network.