At the collegiate level, playing two matches with less than nine hours of sleep seems nearly impossible. But for the Nittany Lions, their performance in Saturday’s morning match against Holy Cross was based on endurance.
In little over an hour, Penn State defeated Holy Cross 3-0 (25-5, 25-12, 25-14). The physical stamina of the team set them up for success.
Penn State moved through the start of the match rather swiftly. In just eight minutes into the first set it led by ten. After the next eight, Penn State made the match 1-0 (25-5).
The Nittany Lions commented earlier in the week that how well they play in practice is how well they will play in matches, but their level of practice is what will carry them through the six-match weekend.
“When we practice we have to practice at our highest level so when we go into competition we can rely on that level of play,” Jonni Parker said. “If you practice at a low level that is what you are going to play at.”
Penn State’s in-game performance accelerated as well as its statistical productivity.
Kaitlyn Hord got the job done, executing another high hit percentage of .929 and 13 kills as Penn State moved rapidly through set two, setting up the chance to take the match in three sets once again.
Sophomore Serena Gray helped boost Penn State’s offense and the fluidity of the game recording a hit percentage of .727 and 13 kills.
“I think Serena has made a lot of improvements to her game so I think there will be a lot of rallies at times where we look really good,” Coach Russ said.
Focus and energy will remain priorities for the Nittany Lions as they welcome Wichita State Saturday at 8 p.m. to conclude the weekend trifecta here at Rec Hall.
“Even with the long weekend, when you step out onto this court and the lights hit you get an automatic smile on your face and you are ready to go,” Hord said.