Penn State might have wanted to see some new competition in Friday’s season home opener, but a rather simplistic match for the Nittany Lions was instead the outcome.
No. 8 Penn State defeated Hofstra 3-0 to kick off the new year.
“I think it was a great way to open up the season and we definitely have some things we need to work on,” Jonni Parker said. “Hofstra gave us the ability to see those areas throughout the game and I think the rest of the weekend will build on those opportunities.”
The Nittany Lions set up a challenge for the Pride just like they planned. Hofstra fell to a ten point deficit in set one as Penn State broke away to take the set and start the match off in its favor.
“Teams like Hofstra that have a large number of international kids pose a real different challenge because they are really unimpressed by big crowds,” Rose said. “They are accustomed to coming here and doing what they are supposed to-do and keep playing.”
Rolling into set two, Parker’s powerful arm led the team with determination as the match became tight. As expected, Parker was a key element in the match, as she executed a hit percentage of .667 and completed 14 kills.
Along with her effort, Gabby Blossom had a second career start and completed 29 overall assists.
“From the middle of that second set to the end you definitely feel the momentum shift," Parker said. "And I went in and said, ‘We have to finish this game with momentum on our side.'”
The rest of set two and three consisted of back and forth play. However, Penn State stood on top and swept the match in three sets, never allowing the Pride to take a lead.
“We had some real good effort at the net and I think we passed the ball pretty well.” coach Rose said, “ I thought our defense was great but we limited our errors in a lot of ways considering it was our first official match played.”
Hosting a season opener for Penn State was a huge part of Friday’s win. The advantage and appreciation the Nittany Lions came out on the court with defines a true behavior and attitude Penn State was able to play with during the game.
“Having a young crowd is where things become a little bit different at home compared to being away,” Rose said. “I appreciate the fact that so many people care about the effort of this group and I think those things really make it special.”