Penn State put its impeccable track record to the test Thursday night when a highly regarded Grand Canyon crew visited Rec Hall.
However, the Nittany Lions flexed their muscles again, dominating the antelopes and taking the straight sets victory.
The Blues and Whites opened the game strongly and took a 7-2 lead over the Antelopes at the start of the first set.
The momentum held throughout the first set, with the Nittany Lions allowing only one draw and no leadership changes.
The offense provided plenty of power to go along with the strong defense, finishing the set with a .579 batting rate and 14 kills, leading to a 25-17 win in the set.
The second set started with the Antelopes taking a 5-2 lead over Penn State, but a 4-0 run allowed Penn State to take over with a 6-5 lead.
The set remained tight and steadily turned into a defensive battle between the two teams.
However, after a draw of 19 apiece, the Nittany Lions’ attack erupted, beating the Antelopes 6-2 to close the set, 25-21.
Grand Canyon started the third set again with a 5-2 lead, with Penn State keeping a close track.
However, with their attack gaining foothold and the crowd moving in, the Nittany Lions won the third and final set 25-22, ending the game in three sets.
Here are three takeaways from Penn State’s third straight win to kick off the season.
The Nittany Lions showed a lot of potential with their attack, especially in the first set.
Penn State finished the game with a batting percentage of 0.463 and won the kill battle 39-33.
Senior outside hitter Brett Wildman led the way for Penn State, contributing 14 kills with a .684 batting rate to go along with two service aces.
Strong defense in the second set
The blue and white defense withstood a strong Grand Canyon attack in the second set, changing the lead seven times and drawing 14.
However, when the Nittany Lions fell behind, the defense managed to make big stops on the Antelopes and prevent them from extending their lead.
This turned into great momentum for Penn State, with the offense beating the antelopes 6-2 and winning in the second frame.
Nine straight sets
With the sweep, Penn State still hasn’t lost a set in the first three games of the fledgling campaign.
The Nittany Lions faced another high-ranking foe in BYU in the first two sets, beating the Cougars both times.
Coach Mark Pavlik and his company will put that 9-0 record in sets against the same Grand Canyon team on Saturday.
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