With the Penn State women's volleyball team one point from victory on Saturday, Fatima Balza and Alisha Glass skyed for a block, sending the bench into its final dance party of the evening.
The dancing -- which the bench players do after every Penn State block -- seemed endless Saturday, as the Nittany Lions out-blocked Purdue 14-1 en route to a sweep of the Boilermakers.
Coach Russ Rose said the stingy defense was one of the biggest factors in the Lions' 86th consecutive victory.
"We're a good blocking team when [the opponent is] struggling with passing," Rose said. "I thought we did a nice job on the pins. I also thought Alisha did a really good job blocking tonight."
Glass led the Lions with seven total blocks -- two solo and five assisted -- as the Lions extended their conference lead in blocks to 3.12 per set.
Rose said the blocking was the main reason for the Boilermakers .034 hitting percentage Saturday and a negative hitting percentage in the second set.
Junior hitter Arielle Wilson said the Lions' shut-down defense was a direct result of Rose's game plan heading into the match.
"I think with the scouting done by the coaches -- they do a great job of it," Wilson said. "With us just being able to listen and execute the play, they just kind of throw it out there, and we go for it in a game."
Balza, the junior middle hitter, echoed Wilson, pointing out that on most points the Lions knew where the Purdue players were headed before setter Jaclyn Hart even received the ball.
"We absolutely knew how Purdue plays," Balza said. "So we pretty much knew that they hit this zone or they hit this player here... So that's why our blocks worked for us today."
Rose said Balza, who tallied two solo blocks and four assisted, as well as six kills, will be instrumental in the Lions success during the rest of the season.
A transfer from junior college in Nebraska and a native of Venezuela, Balza has had a difficult time getting involved in the Lions' scheme, Rose said.
But the three-time national champion coach said Balza's success this weekend may be a sign of things to come.
"Fatima is a smart blocker, and she hit well this weekend," Rose said. "We need to get her the ball more. She's not gonna hit the ball over the blocks because she's not that big, but she finds seams well."
On the season, the Lions have held their opponents to a .091 hitting percentage. No one else in the Big Ten is within 50 percentage points of that clip.
But despite the success early in the season, Rose said that without players like Balza stepping up both offensively and defensively, it would be tough for the Lions to continue that down the stretch.
"You can't set two or three people and think that's sufficient," Rose said. "You might be able to win some rallies and win some games, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that you can win a championship."