Nine straight wins to start a career as a head coach isn’t easy to accomplish, but that’s exactly what Katie Schumacher-Cawley just did.
Penn State, No. 11, continued its blistering streak, knocking out Howard in a 3-0 sweep in its opener of the weekend.
History repeated itself as the Blues and Whites defeated the Bison for the seventh time in as many tries.
The total of 44 kills, one ace and 21 blocks in Friday’s matchup was a reflection of what the Nittany Lions have been dominating so far this year.
Outside hitter Anjelina Stark scored the first kill of the game for the Nittany Lions, breaking the ice for her team, which struggled in the first four games of the set. After that, Penn State went 6-0, giving it an advantage that only lasted minutes after Howard tried to catch up 16-15.
The Bison’s attempt wasn’t enough, as Penn State won the set 25-18, with outside hitter Allie Holland leading the pack with three kills, three assists and a .500 hitting percentage.
“I think Allie did a great job,” Schumacher-Cawley said. “I think she finds other ways to attack and, you know, her connection with [setter Seleisa Elisaia] has improved a lot and I think she is doing a great job.
Holland played a starring role in the second set, scoring three kills before the Bison even picked up their first point. The junior finished the night with 21 kills and also showed her defensive skills with a recovery and four blocks.
Outside striker Zoe Weatherington and center blocker Taylor Trammell were very proactive on the front line, and with their cocktail of kills, blocks and assists, they crushed their opponent to take the frame 25-12. Weatherington and Trammell finished the game with nine and six kills, respectively.
Penn State finished the set with a total of 45 kills, 20 kills, and two blocks. Increase his hit percentage from 0.065 to 0.378.
Elisaia had another respectable game with a total of 37 assists, although she didn’t just play as a setter, collecting two kills, four blocks and five digs.
“I think we’re pretty well balanced when it comes to our attack,” Elisaia said, “and our defense is doing a really good job of getting the ball where it needs to be so I can make the right choices.”
The blue and whites had a difficult start to the third set, with one service error and three attacking errors affecting the team’s score.
The Bisons went on the offensive in the third, taking a short-lived 13-11 lead before Weatherington and Holland scored back-to-back points. It was a set filled with ups and downs, but the Nittany Lions picked up the pace to win the final set of the match 25-18.
“Howard is a great team,” Schumacher-Cawley said. “I think they played hard and did some good things and found ways to score against us, but again we have to be focused and ready to go from the first whistle.”
Despite the loss, the Bison drastically improved their hitting percentage from 0.048 to 0.107 in that final set.
As for Penn State, they once again proved to be a team ready to adapt to different playing conditions.
“I’m happy with what they’re doing,” Schumacher-Cawley said. “We have to build on that, and we have to get up early tomorrow and be ready to go when the first whistle blows.”
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