No. 1 Penn State tops Howard, 3-1, in NCAA opener

University Park, Centre County, Pa. - The No.1 Penn State women’s volleyball team took down the visiting Howard Bison, 3-1; 25-10, 22-25, 25-15, 25-16, in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Championships at Rec Hall on Friday evening.

The Nittany Lions relied heavily on the arms of their middle blockers as Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Co.) and Tori Gorrell(Oakville, Ontario) put down 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Washington finished the evening with a .500 hitting percentage and a match-high five blocks. Gorrell hit a match-best .714 while adding three blocks of her own.

Penn State also saw Ali Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill.) add 12 kills, six digs and three blocks. Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) finished with 10 digs and five kills, while Heidi Thelen (Edgewood, Ontario) added

Defensively, Kendall White (Indianapolis, Ind.) scooped up a match-best 18 digs, while dishing out an ace.

Abby Detering (Mentor, Ohio) led the way with 28 assists, adding four digs, three kills, two blocks, and two aces. Bryanna Weiskircher(Rockford, Ill.) added 16 assists and five digs.

The Nittany Lions held Howard to .000 hitting in three of the four sets, but in the lone set that the Bison were able to take, Howard hit .355 as a team, putting down 16 kills. The second set taken by Howard was the first set dropped by the Nittany Lions in an opening round match since 1989.

Penn State finished the match with 50 kills, hitting .333, while Howard hit just .082. The Nittany Lions also out-blocked Howard, 11.0-4.0.

Saturday’s second round match will feature a Pennsylvania showdown as the University of Pittsburgh took the opening match on Saturday with a 3-1; 25-14, 25-20, 18-25, 25-13, win over Virginia Commonwealth. Penn State and Pitt will face off at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall on the Big Ten Network.


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