Commiting to a sport at the collegiate level usually includes half a season of traveling and half a season competing at home, making all the difference in the team’s success.
Penn State traveled this weekend, for its first time this season to play Iowa State and never felt more prepared to take on its first vigorous opponent of the weekend on the road.
However, the Nittany Lions’ first set without home court advantage resulted in a slow start.
Some team connection was missing but as the match continued to intensify, Penn State gained momentum with its serve game and proved its talents can be taken anywhere.
“We have to learn how to compete harder especially playing a team like Penn State,” Iowa State coach Christy Johnson Lynch told reporters after the game. “You have to be ready to leave it all on the court with them and Penn State is a great defensive team which made us feel a bit anxious.”
There are benefits to packing up and traveling hours to perform what you practice just as there are sacrifices and Penn State not only having an upper-hand on Friday’s match, defeated the rigors of travel as well.
An increase in team performance, freshmen experience and bonding as a group are all beneficial factors to being on the road.
Penn State coach Russ Rose was aware the team would have its hands full with the Cyclones but never doubted Penn State’s abilities to take advantage of these benefits.
“Road trips are always pretty fun with the new freshmen and new experiences, it will be a little different but we’re chartering so we’re pretty lucky,” Gabby Blossom said. “Skipping a day of class is not ideal but our professors are really cool about it and making everything possible.”
Leaving its one of a kind crowd at home, the Cyclones provided Penn State with a similar environment which worked in favor of the Nittany Lions.
“It helps that we have a nice crowd at home which makes things easier for us to play but it’s a whole different set of circumstances when you play on the road and not always a disadvantage.” Rose said.
After game one of its first tournament on the road, Penn State will continue its travels Saturday to play LSU before returning back to Rec Hall.