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How Penn State women’s volleyball reached its 19th NCAA regional final

Penn State women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose has led Penn State to its 19 NCAA tournament regional final. (File photo)
Penn State women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose has led Penn State to its 19 NCAA tournament regional final. (File photo) adrey@centredaily.com

The No. 8 seed Penn State women’s volleyball team took down Washington Friday, 3-0: 26-24, 25-21, 25-21, to advance to the NCAA Stanford Regional Final in Maples Pavilion. The Nittany Lions moved to 26-7 on the season with the win.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions were clicking all match, hitting .337 on the day with 48 kills as a team. Bryanna Weiskircher dished out 40 assists, adding six digs and three kills, while conducting the offense to that .337 mark. Three Penn State student-athletes put down double-figure kills as Nia Reed led the way with 13 kills, Taylor Leath added 12, and Jonni Parker added 10.

Reed added three digs and three blocks in the match, along with a .259 hitting percentage. Leath finished with an impressive .478 hitting percentage, adding five digs, two assists, an ace and a block. Parker hit .261 on the match, and added a tied-career-high five blocks.

In the middle, Tori Gorrell added eight kills, hitting .385, while adding four blocks, two digs, and a tied-career-best two aces, both coming at the end of set three. Kendall White continued her strong play as she led the backline with a match-best 16 digs. She added two aces and two assists as well.

From the get-go, Penn State pressured Washington, dishing out five aces, and 10 team blocks. Even in the third set, Washington jumped out to a 17-12 lead, but the Nittany Lions were able to grind and fight their way back. A 7-0 scoring run would give Penn State a 19-17 advantage, and from there the Nittany Lions never looked back and took the set and the match.

Penn State advances to the NCAA Stanford Regional Final and will play the winners of Stanford-Washington State Saturday, December 8 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on ESPNU.

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