UNIVERSITY PARK - The No. 1 seed Penn State women's volleyball team (31-2) earned a spot in the NCAA Regional semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-15) sweep of Bowling Green (22-11).
The Nittany Lions will face No. 16 seed Kentucky on Friday in West Lafayette, Ind. in Purdue's Mackey Arena. Purdue faces No. 8 seed Minnesota in the other regional semifinal.
Penn State improved to 51-3 in NCAA matches at Rec Hall with Saturday's victory. Penn State is now 76-26 in NCAA Tournament matches. The Nittany Lions are making their 10th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regional semifinals.
Junior Ariel Scott led the Lions with eight kills with a .412 hitting percentage. Freshman Megan Courtney had a match-high nine digs and sophomore Dominique Gonzalez recorded eight. Courtney and junior Katie Slay had three blocks apiece.
The Nittany Lions attacked at a .329 clip and totaled 37 kills, 10 aces, 36 digs and 6.5 team blocks. The Falcons had a .000 hitting percentage with 18 kills, one ace, 30 digs and 3.0 team blocks.
Penn State took a 3-1 lead to start the match, but it wasn't until Courtney, Slay and Scott teamed up for a triple block that the Nittany Lions took off on a 5-0 run for a 12-5 lead.
Bowling Green took a timeout and fought to within three, 14-11. The Falcons stayed within four until two errors and a Scott kill had the Lions leading by six, 20-14. BGSU used its second timeout, but another error, a double stuff by Hancock and Slay and a Hancock kill had Penn State leading by nine, 23-14. Danielle Tonyan put down a kill for BGSU, but Slay and McClendon each pounded a kill to give Penn State a 25-15 set one win.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the second stanza forcing an early Falcon timeout. Bowling Green narrowed the gap to three, 10-7, before two errors and a Hancock ace had the Lions ahead by five, 13-8. The squads traded points briefly and then Courtney pounded a kill and sophomore Lacey Fuller had an ace for a seven-point Penn State lead, 17-10. Following a Falcon timeout, TonyanL and Penrod each put down a kill for BGSU's final points of the set. Five Penn State kills and an ace from freshman Kendall Pierce secured set two for the Nittany Lions, 25-12.
Despite BGSU taking a 2-0 lead in the third frame, three straight Hancock aces had Penn State in front, 4-2. The Falcons kept it close and managed to tied the set at 10-10. However, a Hancock kill sparked a 9-1 run giving Penn State a convincing 19-11 lead. A Bowling Green timeout didn't faze the Lions as two kills from Grant and one from Scott had Penn State maintaining a comfortable lead, 21-13. Three PSU kills, including two by Slay, moved Penn State into match point position, 24-15. The Nittany Lions walked away with set three, 25-15, on a BGSU attack error.