Katie Slay: It's odd when Slay isn't a highlight in Penn State's matches. She hit .500, blocked two solo and six assisted for almost half of the Nittany Lions' 11 total blocks and chipped in a dig (just to prove beyond any doubt her versatility). Rose said he wants her to get more balls, because she lands nearly half of all her attacks for kills. Slay calls for balls often, so it'll be interesting to see if Rose has Micha Hancock start setting to his middle hitter more.
Ariel Scott OR Deja McClendon?: The rule here is both can't be a highlight at the same time because that's how they've played all season, and that trend continued against Northwestern. When Scott is hitting well, McClendon struggles. When McClendon is hitting well, Scott struggles. The two outside hitters are lucky to have Slay in the middle as a secondary attack option or both would start seeing more of their attacks stuffed at the net. But when Scott and McClendon play hot, they're attacks are hard to contain. But for now, Rose can only imagine what life would be like if both were hot at the same time.
Serving/Passing: Both Penn State and Northwestern looked sloppy serving and passing. The result was a lot of free balls, overpasses, service errors and long rallies. When there's no front row jumping attack off the initial reception, or second, or third, or fourth, it's just a bunch of players hitting a ball over a net to each other. Slay said those long rallies can build momentum, but only when the Lions win them, and they lost several of them against the Wildcats.
The crowd: Pretty small showing Wednesday night. Especially small showing for a scheduled whiteout (no, we didn't know until the match either). Phillies were playing, so that probably had something to do it. Penn State has a match with No. 1 Illinois right after the football game on Saturday at 8 p.m., and that will probably draw a pretty big crowd (as long as the game's over).
What will Penn State do against Illinois?: It seems like a pretty general questions, but honestly, who knows? Lately it seems like predicting how Penn State will play is like predicting what the weather will be in State College. The Lions certainly advantage from playing at home (see USC, Minnesota), but that also proved inconsequential at times against lesser teams (see Northwestern, Florida Gulf Coast). The only player Rose seems confident in right now is Slay. As for the rest, he just doesn't know who's going to show up for any given match. Also, the 2010 national championship banner is being raised Saturday, so look for that to pump up the Lions early.