Penn State put everything together in its final match inside Rec Hall this season.
Saturday night marked No. 11 Penn State’s second game in the tournament, and the Nittany Lions prevailed 4-1 over Towson.
After a five-set win in the first round over American University, the Tigers were firing out of the gate, starting the first set off with a 3-0 run.
The Nittany Lions stayed in the fight, but come mid-set Penn State found itself trailing by as much as seven points.
Nonetheless, Penn State kept pushing and was eventually able to bring the deficit down to two, with the Tigers leading 22-20. Ultimately, the Nittany Lions’ comeback efforts were to no avail, and Towson took the first set 25-22.
The second set was essentially the blue and white’s revenge for the first. Penn State jumped out ahead early and continued to build on the margin throughout the course of the set.
In due course, the Nittany Lions came away victorious, winning the set 25-16.
Towson was able to keep the third set close early on, but sound offensive play by the blue and white brought about a Penn State lead that wouldn’t stop growing.
The Nittany Lions won the set 25-17, giving themselves the opportunity to end the match and advance to the tournament’s next round.
Penn State was again able to jump out early in the fourth set, but the Tigers were not going out without a fight.
Towson was able to bring the set back to even, and the Tigers were eventually able to take the lead about midway through the set.
They weren’t able to complete the comeback, however, and Penn State secured its second NCAA Tournament win of the weekend.
Towson playing up to the occasion
Despite ultimately losing to the Nittany Lions, the clearly well-prepared Tigers had quite the night against the blue and white as a whole.
Towson won the first set, a set in which it had 18 kills in 44 total attempts. The Tigers also marked significantly more attacks than Penn State on the match, showing an offensive focus on converting every opportunity into points.
Errors proved to be Towson’s fatal flaw, with 28 on the match. Four Towson players accounted for five or more errors in the loss against Penn State.
Kendall White sets new landmark in her Penn State career
Penn State senior libero Kendall White set a new landmark in her Penn State career in Saturday night’s tournament matchup against Towson, in becoming the Nittany Lions’ all-time leader in digs.
White broke the previous record of 1957 in her last ever game in Rec Hall. She finished the match with 14 digs, putting her easily ahead of the previous record.
White has stood out for Penn State for years now, and capped off her final regular season with literal award-winning numbers, winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and earning a spot on the All-Big Ten first team.
Nittany Lions advance to third round of NCAA Tournament
After Saturday’s win over Towson, Penn State has secured its position in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and are set to play the winner of No. 6 Pitt vs. unranked Cincinnati.
Pitt is heavily favored over Cincinnati and could serve as tough competition for the Nittany Lions if able to advance to the third round.
Penn State played Pitt twice this season, losing the first and winning the second.
The third round will be the first of the tournament for the Nittany Lions not played at Rec Hall.
The match will most likely be played at Stanford and will require Penn State to travel for the first time since the Rutgers game in November.
The Nittany Lions finished the regular season with a 10-2 road record, showing that they can still be dominant outside of State College.