Entire Penn State attack: Can't give the credit to any one player here. Everybody came out and played well. Deja McClendon hurt her ankle in the first set, but she came out and dominated the next two sets. In the meantime, Maddie Martin helped to pick up the slack, hitting .400 on seven kills. In the middle, Katie Slay hit .438 on nine kills, but Nia Grant stepped up to another level entirely. She hit 9-for-11 (.818) without an error. With attacks coming from both sides of the net, it left freshman setter Micha Hancock open for five second-touch kills. Ohio State could do next to nothing to stop the Nittany Lions' surge. Their passing was abysmal, and that affected their entire match.
Was it a fluke?: Ohio State's No. 23 ranking may have been a little generous by the AVCA. They really have no significant wins, other than a sweep against Minnesota (whom Penn State also swept). Some of the more winnable matches they have lost include Hawaii (0-3), Long Beach State (1-3), Wisconsin (1-3) and Purdue (1-3). Still, the Lions had their best match of the season against the Buckeyes, and that's something they shouldn't overlook. A match like this should create confidence, not doubt.
Will Deja McClendon be healthy for Michigan?: Sure, she returned at the start of the second set. But she was up and standing with rallies remaining the in the first set, and coach Russ Rose didn't put her in the match. They taped up her ankle and it didn't seem to bother her as went on to hit .385 with seven kills, but tweaked ankles tend to swell with time. Only she and Rose know how she felt the day after the match or how she will feel on Saturday before Michigan. If she is out or limited in any way, that is a huge blow to the Lions' offense. Martin could get more swings, which may not be a problem as she had some really strong swings Wednesday. Other possibilities on the outside include Aiyana Whitney, Darcy Dorton, Katie Kabbes or even Hancock. And from what we've seen lately, that order is probably how the depth chart for outside hitter looks right now, more or less. Rose has made it clear that if someone is not playing well, he will take them out. But ultimately, McClendon will likely start and play Saturday. She didn't look severely hampered in any way Wednesday, and she's not one to let a little pain keep her out. It would have to be a substantial injury to make her sit.