On Nov. 2, 2002 George W. Bush was in the second year of his Presidency, MySpace hadn’t yet been born and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem was the No. 2 song on the Billboard Hot 100.
Nov. 2, 2002 was also the last time the Penn State women’s volleyball team lost to Michigan.
The Nittany Lions (19-1, 9-0 Big Ten) head into Ann Arbor Saturday to defend an 18-match winning streak against the Wolverines, a 13-match winning streak overall and their No. 1 national ranking.
Michigan (16-7, 4-5) got off to a hot start this season, winning 11 of its first 12 games. The Wolverines have since cooled off, losing five of their last eight, but the Lions are not overlooking their conference foe.
“You can’t look past anybody in the Big Ten, because everybody is good, especially at home,” junior middle hitter Katie Slay said.
The Lions will look to focus on things that they can control Saturday night in Ann Arbor.
“It’s definitely much harder playing on the road, when you don’t have the fans behind you,” said junior outside hitter Maddie Martin. “It’s important that we stay focused when we go on the road.”
“I think for us, we really need to focus on playing at a really high level, and just taking care of our side of the court,” said Slay
“The Big Ten is a really tough league. Every night you have to play your best.”
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 3-0 victory over Ohio State on Wednesday night in Columbus in which the Lions dominated almost every statistical category.
Penn State had four of the top five leaders in kills, and as a team managed 24 more kills than the Buckeyes.
Slay and Ariel Scott led the way for the Lions with 14 kills each, which accounted for over half of the Lions 53 kills as a team. Dominique Gonzalez amassed 15 digs while Deja McClendon and Lacy Fuller each added 9.
The 25-21, 25-19, 25-22 scoreline and statistics don’t tell the whole story for the Lions though.
Service errors, which have plagued the Lions all season, played a major factor in Wednesday’s match in Columbus. Despite sweeping Ohio State, the Lions continued to shoot themselves in the foot, committing 13 service errors to the Buckeyes four.
“Our service game was kind of sloppy, and that’s where we need to get better,” sophomore setter Micha Hancock said.
The Lions’ 13 service errors Wednesday brings their season total to 180 while their opponents have only managed 105 service errors against the Lions. The Lions hung on though, and closed out the third set, with a kill from Nia Grant, and two service aces from Martin.
Penn State held onto the top spot in the Big Ten, while their weekend opponent, Michigan, lost to in-state rival Michigan State on Wednesday, and are now seventh in the conference.
The Lions Saturday night match will be held at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor with a 7 p.m. first serve.