NCAA Women's Volleyball Regional second round, Kaitlyn Hord (23) spikes

Kaitlyn Hord (23) spikes the ball past Syracuse’s Santita Ebangwese (19) during the second round matchup of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Regionals against Syracuse at Rec Hall on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. The no. 8 Nittany Lions swept the Orange 3-0.

With three games under Penn State’s belt, the team is well aware of the changes that need to occur if they want to be successful for the upcoming season.

Throughout the course of the Penn State Classic tournament, the team was making distinguishable changes with each game.

Specifically in the second match against Holy Cross, freshmen players saw court time which resulted in had impacts on the game and players getting adjusted to the skill of college level games.

Freshman Molly Russell subbed in for Kaitlyn Hord, serving in the rotation typically Kendall White would serve in, served an ace in the three rallies she participated in. Emily Oerther, freshman setter, made her Penn State debut near the end of the third set totaling three assists. 

Redshirt senior Tori Gorrell discussed how each season is an exciting time for the team due to the new faces the team gets to play with. For the time hat Gorrell has been apart of the Nittany Lions, she has played with someone new and admires the energy they bring with them. 

“It is great having new players come in. It is exciting to see girls come off the bench -- front row or back row -- and make an impact on the game. New players are always exciting every year. I have been here for five years and I have been with new girls every single year,” Gorrell said.

In addition to new players getting more experience for college volleyball matches, the game’s fluidity continued to get better with every match. In the match versus Wichita State, Serena Gray hit an all-time career high with 18 kills, and setter Gabby Blossom had 36 assists.

However, coach Russ Rose is not getting too excited about the teams statistics from this past weekend.

There were some key points in the team’s overall performance Rose noticed that they need to work on before Big Ten play happens in a matter of weeks.

“Our numbers will change drastically once we start playing some other teams. It is just a reflection of the teams that you are playing,” Rose said.

“So I am not going to get over excited about our hitting percentages or anything like that.There is really nothing to be gained by getting too excited about where you are.” 

Penn State will be on the road next week playing in the Cyclone Invitational in Ames, Iowa.

There the Nittany Lions will be focusing on the points that need work in order to prepare for the following week’s Big Ten/Pac-12 match up, where Penn State will face again Stanford this time at Rec Hall. 

These tournament games are in preparation for the long journey ahead for this young team to achieve the greatness they have been dreaming of since last season.

Sophomore Allyson Cathey mentioned a lesson she has learned from her first season that she plans to carry into this season to make the overall dream a reality. 

“Being aggressive and leaving it all on the court. I feel like last year I was kind of in the shadows, and a little timid. But now that my role has changed on the team I cannot afford to be timid,” Cathey said.

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