Penn State finished off a season sweep of Michigan State by taking down the Spartans on the road.
The Nittany Lions earned their fourth straight victory Saturday night in East Lansing, topping the Spartans in four sets.
The blue and white struggled to gain separation early in the first set, trading points with Michigan State, but eventually broke away for a 25-17 victory.
Penn State played from behind most of the second set, and although it began chipping away at the deficit, the Spartan lead proved to be too much to overcome, and Michigan State tied things up in a 25-21 win.
The third set opened similar to the second, with the Spartans jumping out to an 8-3 lead.
The Nittany Lions clawed back immediately, stringing together a 5-0 run before going stride-for-stride with Michigan State, and looked to be pulling away — but a late Spartan run tied it up at 24.
Penn State finally put the set away with a Jenna Hampton service ace, winning 26-24.
The blue and white got some rare breathing room in the fourth set and took advantage of it, putting the match in the books with a 25-13 victory.
Rollins 1k x 2
Senior outside hitter Adanna Rollins hit multiple career milestones early in Saturday’s match — recording her 1,000th kill and dig in the first set.
Rollins became the second Nittany Lion to reach the mark in kills this season, after senior right-side hitter Jonni Parker accomplished the feat on Sept. 3 against Iowa State.
The Minnesota transfer has been playing some of her best volleyball of the season recently, putting up a season-high 21 kills on Nov. 5 against Michigan and recording double-digit kills and digs in three of Penn State’s last four matches.
Rollins led the blue and white with 16 kills and finished third on Russ Rose’s squad with 10 digs Saturday.
Hord, Franklin battle again
In the second meeting between these teams in the span of a week, familiar names rose to the top of the scoresheet.
Nittany Lion senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord followed up a career-high 24 kills against the Spartans on Nov. 6 with 14 more Saturday, adding five block assists.
For the Spartans, it was sophomore outside hitter Sarah Franklin setting the tone once more, as her 14 kills and 11 digs led Michigan State — this performance coming after she set a career high of her own with 27 kills in the teams’ first matchup.
To the brink
In the Big Ten, anyone is capable of beating anyone, and while Michigan State wasn’t able to finish the job in either of its two opportunities, it made nearly every set with Penn State a battle.
The Spartans took the Nittany Lions to five sets on Nov. 6 and held a lead late in the fifth before bowing out.
Saturday, Michigan State drew even and nearly stole the third set in comeback fashion.
The squad’s 4-11 Big Ten record might be a bit deceiving after testing Penn State time and time again — highlighting the conference’s strength from top to bottom.
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