In the midst of a rebuilding year, mistakes are expected.
Penn State’s young team is starting to learn how to limit mistakes. After splitting the weekend with No. 7 Wisconsin and Iowa the previous weekend, the team does not dwell on the past.
Penn State moved down in the AVCA Polls as of Oct. 6 following the weekend, falling to the No. 8 spot after being No. 5 the previous week. Fellow Big Ten teams — Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin — are all now No. 5, 6 and 7 respectively.
Coach Russ Rose is aware of the errors the team is showing on the court, yet feels when looking at the stat sheet, it is not an accurate representation of the game or a player’s ability. Recognizing teams are going to have their strong arms is one thing, but being well aware and continuing to push through it is another.
“We have had matches where we won the statistics and lost the match, and some where we have been outperformed in all the statistical areas and won the match,” Rose said.
“We know the importance of how errors play into games. The fact that we were missing five or six serves a game was the same thing as Iowa getting five or six more kills a game. If you are giving the other team five or six points, that makes the game close.”
The errors the team is committing has deeper layers than what it appears. For redshirt senior Tori Gorrell, the challenge this season has been to adjust to the outside hitter position after playing middle blocker for her first three seasons at Penn State.
“After being a middle my entire life, there are a lot of things I need to work on. I need to work on everything because every day you can get better,” Gorrell said. “Every day you get to come into the gym and get better. Every game is an opportunity to prove that you are doing those things in practice.”
With Maryland and Ohio State coming to Rec Hall for this upcoming week, Penn State will remain focused on what they can control, and finding serenity in the loudness a typical home game brings. Jonni Parker mentioned in slumps, the team tries to find composure — even in the midst of chaos.
“We got to keep our head up high. If we begin to get into a slump or the other team goes on a run, we got to maintain our composure and not get down on ourselves,” Jonni Parker said.
“[Loud arenas are] a healthy, loud overwhelming environment to get you going.”