Ariel Scott had 12 kills while Deja McClendon added 11 kills Saturday as the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions swept the No. 2 Texas Longhorns (25-22, 25-21, 25-22) in Rockvale Outlets Big Four Volleyball Classic action. The Longhorns (5-1) suffered their first loss of the season after opening with five straight 3-0 sweeps.
Micha Hancock posted 34 assists for the Nittany Lions (5-0) with five kills, five digs and two aces.
Penn State held Haley Eckerman and Khat Bell to .231 hitting nights while Bailey Webster hit .172 on 11 kills. Eckerman led Texas with 13 kills and one ace.
Both teams got off to a shaky start in the first set. After trailing 14-13, Penn State used three straight points to take the lead. Eckerman later tied it at 19-19, but a service error and two hitting errors by the Longhorns sparked a 4-1 run for the Nittany Lions. McClendon put down two more kills as Penn State won the first set.
Kristin Carpenter’s ace gave Penn State a three-point lead in the second set, 13-10. Eckerman and Bell registered two kills each as the 6-1 run put UT back on top at 16-14. Penn State called timeout, down 19-17, and responded with three straight points to retake the lead. Nia Grant’s kill sparked the 5-1 run to make it a 2-0 lead in the match for the host Nittany Lions.
The third set was even for both teams. Webster tied it at 18-18, but Megan Courtney would put PSU ahead for good. Katie Slay and McClendon teamed up on back-to-back blocks as the Nittany Lions would pull away and finish off the sweep.
Texas returns home to face No. 16 Minnesota in back-to-back matches on Thursday (Sept. 6) and Friday (Sept. 7) at Gregory Gym. Both matches will start at 6:30 p.m. with a live broadcast on Longhorn Network. Gametracker live stats along with an audio webcast will be available on TexasSports.com and live Twitter updates @TexasVolleyball.
Notes: Haley Eckerman and Khat Bell were named to the all-tournament team…tonight was only the second loss in 17 matches when Haley Eckerman and Bailey Webster record double-digit kills in a match…freshman Nicole Dalton had a season-high 20 assists tonight.