November 15, 2010

Nittany Digs: Payback is a Brown

(Ed.-Totally mixed up my proverbs, so the title has changed)

Blair Brown
Penn State is steamrolling its way through the Big Ten schedule, after a shaky start to the season. Well, "shaky" for Penn State standards.

Early in the conference schedule, Penn State fell 3-2 at Illinois, the Lions' first Big Ten loss in 65 matches. It was painful. And while Penn State lost two more conference matches a few weeks later (at Purdue and at Indiana), the Illinois loss stuck out because it was the first.

Well, Penn State had one chance to redeem itself for that loss in Champaign, Ill., as the Illini came into Rec Hall this weekend with a 1-0 record against Penn State this year, and a No. 9 ranking.

The Nittany Lions made the most of it.

Here's the roundup from last week.

Brown and McClendon Earn Big Ten Weekly Honors

Fan favorite (then again, which of these girls isn't a fan favorite?) Blair Brown, and rising star freshman Deja McClendon earned Big Ten Player of the Week, and Big Ten Freshman of the Week, respectively.
Brown led the Nittany Lions with 14 kills along with five digs and five blocks against the Badgers on Friday, Nov. 12. She went to on post a team-best 13 kills and seven digs against the Illini on Saturday. For the weekend, Brown averaged 4.50 kils per set on .463 hitting and contributed seven blocks (1.17 blocks per set) and 12 digs (2.00 digs per set).

McClendon posted a team-best .553 attack percentage after totaling 22 kills (3.67 kills per set), 10 digs (1.67 digs per set) and three blocks in matches against Wisconsin and Illinois. Versus the Badgers, McClendon posted 10 kills to rank third on the team with three digs and three blocks. She followed that performance with 12 kills and seven digs against the Illini.
The Games...
No. 8 Penn State vs Wisconsin - W, 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-12)
Three Nittany Lions posted double-digit kills with senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) who had 14 on .538 hitting. Senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) tallied 11 on .625 hitting and freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) recorded 10. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 40 assists, while senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) led the team with 10 digs. Senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) and Brown each posted five blocks.

Penn State attacked at a .467 clip and held the Badgers to .076 hitting. The Nittany Lions totaled 46 kills, three aces, 38 digs and 12.0 total team blocks. Wisconsin registered 28 kills, one ace, 37 digs and 1.0 team blocks.
No. 9 Penn State vs No. 9 Illinois - W, 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-18)
Penn State stretched its home match winning streak to 88 consecutive matches. The Nittany Lions surpassed their previous record of 87 consecutive home matches, which lasted from Nov. 25, 1995 to Sept. 29, 2000. Penn State's current streak of 88, which began on Sept. 1, 2006, ranks second in NCAA records, behind only Nebraska's streak of 90 straight matches.

Three Nittany Lions posted double-digit kills against the Illini, led by senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) who had 13. Freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) was second on the team with 12 on .600 hitting and freshman Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) had 10. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 37 assists, while freshman Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) had a personal-best and match-high 12 digs. Senior Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) finished second on the team with 10 digs. Senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) had five total blocks, as did Scott, which was a career-high.

Penn State hit .324 against Illinois, while the Illini were held to .112. The Nittany Lions totaled 45 kills, four aces, 53 digs and 8.5 total team blocks. Illinois posted 33 kills, two aces, 43 digs and 4.0 team blocks.
In the Polls

Penn State was bumped up to No. 7 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week.

What's Next?

Penn State (23-4, 13-3 Big Ten) is back in action Wednesday, Nov. 17 against Ohio State at 7 p.m. Penn State then hosts Northwestern on Friday, Nov. 19, also at 7 p.m. Both matches will be streamed live on from Rec Hall.

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