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Penn State women's volleyball takes down Michigan for 2nd time in as many weeks

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Penn State women's volleyball vs. Michigan, Kaitlyn Hord (23) block

Penn State's middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord (23) blocks the ball at the net during the Penn State women's volleyball game against Michigan at Rec Hall on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions beat the Wolverines 3-1. 

Two familiar foes met in Ann Arbor Friday night, as Big Ten rivals Penn State and Michigan faced off for the second time in as many weeks.

Penn State once again topped the Wolverines, taking down the maize and blue in four sets.

The visiting Nittany Lions started the first set strong, building a 20-13 advantage, but Michigan was quick to respond, clawing back and eventually tying the set at 24-24 before Penn State took the set 26-24.

The second set followed a very similar blueprint, as Penn State held a 21-13 lead before Michigan came storming back again, but this time the Wolverines closed out the set, 25-23.

In the third set, the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines battled to a 16-16 tie, but Penn State finished strong, taking it 25-19.

Penn State nearly surrendered another sizable lead in the fourth set, but were able to pull out a 25-22 victory.

Pritchard bounces back

Penn State senior outside hitter Erika Pritchard was a big factor for her team against Michigan.

Pritchard did not see much of the court in her last two matches against Michigan and Michigan State, earning just two kills on 11 total attempts.

On Friday, the Maryland transfer led the blue and white’s offense with 17 kills and seven digs.

Nittany Lions struggle to hold leads

Penn State started the first two sets out strong, mounting seven and nine point leads, respectively.

Both sets, though, it was the resilient Wolverines who rallied back to make for very intense finishes, and while Michigan dropped the first set, it won the second.

For the 15th-ranked Nittany Lions, holding leads has proven to be a problem and certainly something for Russ Rose to work on with his team.

Even in the final set, the blue and white struggled to slam the door, as a small Michigan run near the end of the set forced the Nittany Lions put their feet down to end the match.

Seniors lead the way for the Nittany Lions

A battle-tested senior core for Penn State showed its experience against Michigan.

With outside hitters Jonni Parker, Adanna Rollins, Erika Pritchard, setter Gabby Blossom and defensive specialist Jenna Hampton playing together, Penn State looked like a well-oiled machine.

Riding a three-match winning streak, the veterans look to keep leading the way as Penn State continues their Big Ten road trip.

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