Oct. 5, 2012
Watch Match Highlights
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: Penn State 3, Northwestern 0
Records: NU (12-4, 1-4 Big Ten), Penn State (15-1, 5-0 Big Ten)
Next NU Event:Saturday, Oct. 6 -- vs. Ohio State (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 7 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill.-- Northwestern stood toe-to-toe with the nation's top-ranked team Friday night at Welsh Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., but in the end the No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions were too much to overcome as they knocked off the Wildcats, 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-23).
Stephanie Holthus led all players in the match with 12 kills, seven of which came in the first set. The Burlington, Ill., native now owns 1,068 kills in a Northwestern uniform and is in 18th place on the all-time list after passing Melissa Doan ('95-'98) on Friday.
Hannah Crippen put forth her highest offensive output of the season with nine kills, while Katie Dutchman added eight on 13 swings with only one error for a match-best attacking percentage of .538.
Madalyn Shalter handed out 37 assists and recorded 11 digs for her 11th double-double of the season, most on the team. The fifth-year senior needs only 16 digs to reach 1,000 for her illustrious career.
Monica McGreal also had 11 digs for the Wildcats on Friday.
|Northwestern vs. Penn State
"Penn State came in here tonight and showed us what it takes to be the top team in the Big Ten and the entire country," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "I thought we played smart volleyball throughout the match, but we had too many mistakes at critical times, which prevented us from coming out on top. We learned a lot about competing hard for every single point and we'll take that into our next match against Ohio State."
The first set was close, featuring seven tie scores and three lead changes. NU scored first on a kill by Holthus, but PSU quickly answered and matched the 'Cats point-for-point for a few minutes. After a kill by Ariel Scott to even the ledger at eight points apiece, the Nittany Lions, ripped off a 6-1 run to grab a 14-9 lead.
Northwestern chipped away diligently at the deficit and later pulled to within a point at 22-21 on a kill from Dutchman; the 'Cats tied the affair at 23-23 with Holthus' seventh termination of the stanza. An attacking error on Northwestern and another kill from Scott gave Penn State the two points needed to seal the first set, 25-23.
It was the home team that secured an early advantage in the second set. NU led by as many as four points early, but the visitors went on a 12-3 run to end the second set, punctuated by a kill from Nia Grant to win 25-18. That win gave Penn State a 2-0 lead for the match as the teams retreated to their respective locker rooms for an intermission.
The third set was also of the back-and-forth variety, but this time Northwestern maintained its slim lead as the teams drove down the stretch. A kill by Dutchman, her fourth of the set, gave NU a narrow 21-20 cushion, but PSU answered with two straight scores of its own to climb back on top and never look back. On the Nittany Lions' first attempt to close the match, NU's Savannah Paffen and Crippen came together for a block to inch back to within a point and keep hope alive. Grant responded, however, by hammering an overpass to finish the set, 25-23, and send Penn State away with a hard-fought 3-0 triumph.
Libero Julie Chin earned seven digs for the Wildcats and she moved into sixth-place on Northwestern's all-time digs list Friday. Chin, owner of 1,241 career digs passed Kathy Burns ('84-'87) and Shelley Brzozowski ('86-'89) against Penn State.
The Wildcats conclude their brief stint at home Saturday evening when they host the 19th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at 7 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern took down the Buckeyes in five thrilling sets the last time the two programs got together on Nov. 11, 2011.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!