November 23, 2010

Nittany Digs: Crackin' Nuts & Sweepin' Up

Seniors Blair Brown
and Fatima Balza
It was quite the week for Penn State women's volleyball. The Nittany Lions not only grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big Ten, but did it in their typically convincing fashion. To top off the week's work, three Nittany Lions took home conference honors.

Here's the lowdown on last week's action.

Sweepin' Up

Penn State earned a full sweep of the Big Ten weekly honors for volleyball this week, garnering offensive, defensive, and freshman of the week awards.
Player of the Week:
Blair Brown, Penn State
Sr., Opp., Purcellville, Va./Loudoun Valley

Brown is honored with Big Ten Player of the Week for the second week in a row after recording two double-doubles last week, averaging a 5.8 kills, 3.5 digs and 0.8 blocks per set. In Wednesday's match against Ohio State, the senior finished with a match-high 19 kills, also posting 11 digs and three blocks in a sweep of the Buckeyes. Against No. 25 Northwestern, she once again led the match with 16 kills, tacking on 10 digs and two blocks in the three-set win. Brown averaged a conference-best 6.67 points per set last week to help Penn State remain in first place in the conference standings.

Defensive Player of the Week:
Alyssa D'Errico, Penn State
Sr., LIB, Byron, N.Y./Byron-Bergen

After averaging 5.5 digs per set and helping the Penn State defense hold its opponents to .160 hitting over the weekend, D'Errico claims her first Big Ten weekly honor. The senior libero recorded a match-high 15 digs in Penn State's midweek match against Ohio State, a 3-0 Nittany Lion victory, then added 18 more in a three-set win over No. 25 Northwestern on Friday night. She also perfectly received 43 service attempts in the matches as Penn State remained atop the Big Ten standings with two matches to play.

Co-Freshman of the Week:
Deja McClendon, Penn State
OH, Louisville, Ky./DuPont Manual Magnet

McClendon averaged 3.5 kills and 1.7 digs per set in Penn State's wins over Ohio State and Northwestern last week to clinch Freshman of the Week honors for the fifth time. Her top match of the weekend came against the nationally ranked Wildcats, posting 15 kills on .520 hitting, also recording four digs and a pair of blocks in the three-set victory after totaling six kills, six digs and a block against the Buckeyes.

Crackin' Nuts

No. 7 Penn State vs Ohio State - W, 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-21)
Senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) led Penn State with 19 kills on 29 attempts with only one error for a match-high .621 attack percentage. Brown was also second on the team with 11 digs. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 39 assists, while senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) had a match-high 15 digs and two aces. Senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) led the Nittany Lions at the net with six total blocks.

Penn State (24-4, 14-3 Big Ten) registered a .356 attack percentage and held the Buckeyes to .149. The Nittany Lions totaled 46 kills, six aces, 48 digs and 8.0 total team blocks. The Buckeyes finished the match with 28 kills, 28 digs and 7.0 team blocks.
No. 7 Penn State vs No. 25 Northwestern - W, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20)
On Senior Night, senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) led the Nittany Lions with 16 kills, while freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) was second on the team with 15. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 39 assists, while senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) had a team-best six total blocks, including three solo. Senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) had a match-high 18 digs and Brown finished second on the team with 10.

The Nittany Lions registered a .266 attack percentage, while Northwestern (18-10, 8-9 Big Ten) hit .151. Penn State totaled 46 kills, four aces, 58 digs and 8.0 total team blocks. The Wildcats finished the match with 30 kills, one ace, 42 digs and 11.0 team blocks.
In the Polls

Penn State held at the No. 7 spot in this week's AVCA Coaches Top 25.

What's Next?

Penn State is back in action on Friday, Nov. 26 at Iowa in a 2 p.m. matchup with the Hawkeyes. The Nittany Lions take on Minnesota on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 9:30 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.

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