Penn State put its unblemished record to the test on Thursday night when a highly ranked Grand Canyon squad visited Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions once again flexed their muscles, though, dominating the Antelopes and capturing the win in straight sets.
The blue and white opened up the match strong, taking a 7-2 lead over the Antelopes at the beginning of the first set.
The momentum carried throughout the whole first set, with the Nittany Lions only allowing one tie and no lead changes.
The offense provided great power to go along with the strong defense, finishing the set with a .579 hitting percentage and 14 kills, which led to a 25-17 set win.
The second set started with the Antelopes taking a 5-2 lead over Penn State, but a 4-0 scoring run allowed Penn State to take over with a 6-5 lead.
The set continued to be tight, steadily turning into a defensive battle between the two teams.
However, after being tied at 19 a piece, the Nittany Lions’ offense erupted, outscoring the Antelopes 6-2 to close out the set, 25-21.
Grand Canyon began the third set with a 5-2 lead once again, with Penn State keeping a close trail behind.
However, with their offense finding its footing and the crowd getting into it, the Nittany Lions took the third, and final, set 25-22, ending the match in three sets.
Here are three takeaways from Penn State’s third straight win to start the season.
The Nittany Lions showed great potency with their offense, especially in the first set.
Penn State finished the match with a .463 hitting percentage and won the kill battle 39-33.
Senior outside hitter Brett Wildman led the way for Penn State, contributing 14 kills on a .684 hitting percentage to go along with two serve aces.
Strong second-set defense
The blue and white’s defense was able to withstand a strong Grand Canyon offense in the second set, with the lead changing seven times and there being 14 ties.
However, when the Nittany Lions found themselves in a deficit, the defense was able to come up with big stops on the Antelopes and prevent them from extending their lead.
This turned into great momentum for Penn State, allowing the offense to outscore the Antelopes 6-2 and become victorious in the second frame.
With the sweep, Penn State has still yet to lose a set in its first three matches of the young campaign.
The Nittany Lions took care of another highly ranked foe in BYU in the first two sets, sweeping the Cougars both times out.
Coach Mark Pavlik and company will put that 9-0 record in sets to the test against this same Grand Canyon team on Saturday.
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