Women's volleyball sweeps Yale, advances to Regional Semifinal

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University Park, Pa.— The top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team captured its 34th consecutive win of the season with a three-game sweep of Yale (25-18, 25-11, 25-12) Saturday at Rec Hall in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions advance to the NCAA Regional Semifinal at 6 p.m. next Friday at Rec Hall, and will play Western Michigan in the second match of the day. The first match will feature Cincinnati or Illinois against Cal or New Mexico State and will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Junior outside hitter Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) led all players with 14 kills on .458 hitting as senior middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) and sophomore middle hitter Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) both contributed seven kills and senior outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) and sophomore opposite Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) both posted five kills. As a team, Penn State hit .441 for the contest, with every starter attacking at a .400 clip or better.

Junior setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) dished out 29 assists while senior libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) led all players with a match-high seven digs. Glass added in six digs while Fawcett and Hodge each provided five digs. Penn State outdug Yale, 25-20.

The Nittany Lions dominated the serving game, racking up nine aces while not allowing the Bulldogs any. Holehouse led the match with a season-high five aces as Hodge posted two and Fawcett and sophomore Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) both added in one.

Penn State outblocked Yale, 12.5 to 3.0, led by Harmotto with seven, Wilson and Brown with four each and Fawcett, Glass and Hodge with three apiece.

Alexis Crusey and Bridget Hearst led Yale with six kills each as Cat Dailey posted five kills.

The first set had four ties before a Lion triple block from Fawcett, Harmotto and Glass and a Fawcett kill gave Penn State the 8-6 lead. A Fawcett and Wilson block along with a Wilson kill pushed the score to 11-7. Yale pulled back within one at 11-10 on consecutive kills from Hearst but a Bulldog service error and two consecutive Hodge kills pushed Penn State up 14-10. The squads traded kills four times before a Fawcett kill made it 20-13. Out of a Yale timeout, a Harmotto and Fawcett block, a Harmotto kill and a Harmotto and Glass block extended the lead to 23-13 before a Fawcett kill ended the game, 25-18. Fawcett and Hodge each contributed four kills as Harmotto picked up four blocks.

Penn State jumped out to the 10-4 lead in the second game behind kills from Hodge Wilson, Harmotto and Brown, along with a Holehouse ace. A Fawcett kill and Quilico ace made it 12-6 before a Brown and Wilson block and a Brown kill pushed the advantage to 15-7. Strong serving from Fawcett helped Penn State go on a 6-0 run to take the 22-8 lead before a Brown and Wilson block along with back to back Hodge kills gave Penn State the game, 25-11. Hodge collected six kills on an errorless eight swings to hit .750.

Strong Penn State serving from Holehouse and D'Errico, which forced three consecutive overpass kill opportunities, helped put the Lions ahead 10-2 in the third stanza. A Harmotto kill made it 13-6 and a put-away from freshman Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) pushed the lead to 14-7. A Hodge kill and Holehouse ace made it 18-9 and a Hodge solo block along with a Brown kill extended the Penn State advantage to 20-10. A Harmotto kill, a Hodge ace and a block by Harmotto and Glass ended the game for the Nittany Lions, 25-12. Harmotto was perfect on all four of her swings as Hodge also provided four kills.

Rec Hall will host the NCAA Regional Championship next weekend, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13. Match times are 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. The winners of each of the four regional championships advance to the NCAA Semifinals, slated for Thursday, Dec. 18 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. The NCAA National Championship match is Saturday, Dec. 20.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010