Rarely does a collegiate women’s volleyball team play two matches in a single day, let alone win each one. The Nittany Lions accomplished both feats in 2014 when they won four matches in two days.
On Sept. 13, 2014, No. 3 Penn State defeated Yale in straight sets (25-14, 25-15, 25-15) in an afternoon matchup and beat No. 24 Kansas in the nightcap in three sets (25-10, 27-25, 25-23).
The wins by Penn State were part of a commanding and strong showing at the Villanova Classic, an in-season tournament.
After beating both American University (24-26, 25-8, 25-14, 25-16) and Villanova (25-19, 25-12, 25-15) the day before, the Nittany Lions came out swinging for a noon start against the Yale Bulldogs.
Senior Nia Grant and freshman Ali Frantti led the charge for Penn State, with each player logging 11 kills without any recorded attack errors. Grant added two digs and two blocks while Franti had five digs.
Freshman Haleigh Washington started her collegiate career in this match, registering her first playing time and recording six kills while hitting a robust .545.
Just hours later, the Nittany Lions upended the Jayhawks on the heels of standout performances by Grant, senior Micha Hancock and redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney. All three made the All-Tournament Team for their contributions in the Villanova Classic.
Whitney paced the Nittany Lions’ offense with 13 kills on an impressive .571 hitting percentage. She also led the team with six blocks.
Grant continued her hot hitting from the noon match by recording 10 kills on .467 hitting. In addition to her offensive prowess, Grant continued to impress on defense with another two block, two dig performance.
Hancock was rock solid serving, notching six aces to go with four kills and two blocks. At one point in set three, Hancock served three consecutive aces to give Penn State a 5-1 lead from which it would not look back.
The Nittany Lions lost just two more times throughout the remainder of the season, compiling a 36-3 record and ultimately winning the NCAA national championship in Oklahoma City.
Penn State, which was the No. 5 seed, swept BYU in straight sets (25-21, 26-24, 25-14) to earn the program’s seventh national championship.
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