Strong Fifth Set Lifts Penn State Over Maryland
Kendall White Tallied 21 Digs and Moved Into Second on the Lions’ Career List
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Senior Kendall White tallied 21 digs, and Penn State came alive in the fifth set to record a 3-2 (18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 14-25, 15-6) win over Maryland in a Big Ten women’s volleyball match Friday night at Rec Hall. White moved into second on the Nittany Lions’ career digs list with 1,705.
Penn State improved to 11-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten, while Maryland dropped to 9-8 overall and 1-4 in the conference. The Terrapins, under the direction of second-year head coach Adam Hughes and with Kristin Carpenter Steadman as an assistant, won two sets against the Nittany Lions for the first time since 1979. Hughes is a 2006 Penn State graduate and started his career as a student manager for Lions’ head coach Russ Rose. Steadman won two national titles as a player at Penn State in 2009 and 2010.
White needed just two digs to pass Kim Kumfer (1989-92) for second in program history and easily eclipsed that total on the night. The two-time All-American now needs 253 to pass Kaleena Walters for the program record.
Jonni Parker and Serena Gray each had 13 kills in the win over Maryland. Parker added 11 digs to complete a double-double and also recorded three aces. Gray tacked on four total blocks. Tori Gorrell came through with nine kills on .571 hitting.
The Lions finished with 11 blocks on the night, led by Kaitlyn Hord with six. The sophomore also had eight kills on .368 hitting. Hord and Gray entered the night first and second in the Big Ten in hitting percentage.
It was an up-and-down match for Penn State. Maryland hit .500 with 19 kills to just one error while taking the first set, only to see the Lions take control of the match with wins in sets two and three. But instead of folding, the underdog Terrapins came out and posted a blowout victory in set four, 25-14. Only No. 7 Wisconsin has beaten Penn State worse in a set this season.
The final result was never in doubt once the fifth set started. Penn State never trailed in the set and used a 7-1 run to pull away. It was a team effort as four players had a kill in the set and four players had a block. The Lions’ final three points were scored on kills by Parker, two with assists from Gabby Blossom and one with an assist from White.
Blossom registered a double-double with 43 assists and 12 digs. Seniors Keeton Holcomb and Emily Sciorra each turned in solid performances in the back row and in the service game. The Lions had six aces to 10 service errors. Gorrell, Blossom, and Sciorra recorded one ace apiece.
Erika Pritchard led Maryland with a big statistical night, finishing with 19 kills and 16 digs. Rebekah Rath and Katie Myers added 14 and 12 kills, respectively.
Penn State is at Rec Hall for the 11th time in its first 15 matches when it hosts Ohio State on Saturday at 8 p.m. The team will hold its annual Dig Pink event to support the fight against breast cancer.