Nov. 10, 2012
Site: University Park, Pa. (Rec Hall)
Score: No. 2 Penn State 3, Northwestern 0
Records: NU (15-12, 4-12 Big Ten), PSU (25-2, 15-1 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, Nov. 16 -- vs. Michigan (Evanston, Ill.), 7 p.m.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State lived up to its No. 2 national ranking Saturday night as they declawed the Northwestern Wildcats in straight sets in front of a boisterous crowd at Rec Hall (25-16, 25-16, 25-16).
"We came out tonight focused and confident, but all credit goes to Penn State," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "There are no easy nights in the Big Ten. Penn State played an aggressive and smart match tonight. They took advantage of some mistakes on our side and they earned the victory."
Stephanie Holthus led the Wildcats attack with 11 kills, while adding 11 digs to secure her second-consecutive double-double and her 15th of the season. Yewande Akanbi chipped in with six kills for Northwestern. Abbie Kraus picked up nine digs Saturday, her highest output since netting a career-best 15 against Wisconsin on Sept. 21.
As a team, Penn State held the NU attack in check all evening. The Wildcats were charged with 22 hitting errors in the match, while the host squad notched only 10.
Northwestern was slow to gain an offensive rhythm in the opening frame Saturday. After taking an early 4-1 lead, the Wildcats surrendered a 9-1 run that propelled Penn State into the driver's seat for the remainder of the set. NU fought off a pair of set points for Penn State, but eventually the Nittany Lions secured a 1-0 lead for the match with a 25-16 triumph in the opener.
Despite the offensive woes in the first set, Northwestern's back row effort was solid in the first set. Kraus tallied a team-high five digs in the first, while setter Madalyn Shalter added four of her own to go along with eight assists.
Northwestern cleaned up the attacking errors in the second set as they committed only five miscues in the frame, however Penn State was near flawless as they were charged with only two errors in the second set to bring their match total to just five. The Nittany Lions fought off another late rally by the 'Cats to win the second set by the same score as the first, 25-16.
Penn State continued to be the aggressor as the two teams moved into the third set. After the sides split the first four points, the Nittany Lions went on an 8-1 tear to create another comfortable cushion. The Wildcats began to reverse course as they trimmed the deficit to four at 17-13 on Holthus' 10th kill of the night, but try as it might, Northwestern was unable to come closer than four for the duration of the night. The Nittany Lions finished off the three-set sweep with a 25-16 victory in set three.
Early in the match Holthus passed former Northwestern standout Courtnie Paulus ('00-'04) to move into 12th place on the school's all-time kills list. The Burlington, Ill., native now owns 1,211 kills in an NU uniform; with 35 more Holthus will pass Alison Krumbien and move into 11th all-time.
The 'Cats open a three-match homestand on Friday, Nov. 16 when the Michigan Wolverines invade Welsh-Ryan Arena. Michigan State will visit the following evening at 7 p.m. and instate rival Illinois will come calling on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
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