For the second time this year, the volleyball team lost to No. 1 Penn State in four sets. The Spartans overall record against the historically dominant Penn State is 7-44.
“We did a good job of fighting,” senior setter Rachel Minarink said. “We dug ourselves quite the hole in the fourth set. We tied it up, so we’re proud of ourselves for that. We were really happy with our team effort tonight.”
Leading the way for the spartans were redshirt senior outside hitter Autumn Bailey with 16 kills and 14 digs, and senior outside hitter Holly Toliver with 14 kills and 11 digs. Minarink lead with 17 digs and two service aces.
The Nittany Lions’ Haleigh Washington and Simone Lee out hit the Spartans with leading the match with 18 kills.
“Definitely great players,” head coach Cathy George said. “We’re not going to stop them, but can we contain them. I thought we did a pretty good decent job on Simone Lee for a while, but she started to get a little bit hot towards the end there, but you don’t hold people back like that forever.”
Penn State kept the team on their toes keeping each match close or holding the lead the majority of the time.
The Spartans started the match off strong with maintaining the lead throughout, but failed to finish out with a loss of 27-25 in the first set. The only set MSU won was set three with a score of 27-25.
“It was a well fought match,” George said. “We really didn’t have some of our defense going in game 1 even though it was a close, close set. I felt like we weren’t playing defense the way we needed to.”
Despite the loss, MSU feels that they still performed well even if their defensive efforts could be better against the No. 1 team in the country, Minarink said.
For Bailey, this is the closest team she has ever been on. She feels that with their good chemistry is what keeps this team going.
“We don’t give up. We can be down by so much and don’t let go,” Bailey said. “In some tight and tough moments like tonight, we can still look to each other and play together.”
The team will travel to Evanston, Illinois this Saturday at 8 p.m. to take on Northwestern. The game will can be streamed on BTN2Go.
“Northwestern is a great team,” Minarink said. “We just need to play our best volleyball and just go in and give effort.”
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