Sunday, August 28, 2011
The USC Trojans had the tables turned on them last night, squandering a 2-0 lead and losing to Penn State, just one night after 'SC had come back from 0-2 down to top Minnesota. The Gophers, meanwhile, came back on Saturday to defeat Oregon, the opening night's conqueror of Penn State, sending home all four teams in the AVCA Showcase with 1-1 records.
What stood out to me from the Penn State-USC box score was the depth each team had available to call on. For the Nittany Lions, it was frosh OH Nia Grant, whose hitting line consisted of 11 kills and 0 errors on 17 attempts, for a .647 percentage. Another first-year player, Micha Hancock, has taken over Penn State's setting duties for now, and she added a 7-0-8, .875 line on the attack. The former setter, Kristin Carpenter, has now apparently become a backcourt specialist, leading the team with 20 digs. Deja McClendon (.321) and Katie Slay (.320) had solid hitting nights, but Ariel Scott had an off match (-.143).
For 'SC, with Lauren Williams (.269) and Alex Jupiter (.200) cooling off from the night before, it was left to soph OH/opposite Kirby Burnham (15-1-31, .452) and frosh MB Hannah Schraer (4-0-7, .571, albeit with a small number of attempts) to power the offense.
Penn State dominated the total team blocks, 18.5 to 6.0. As I wrote yesterday, the Nittany Lions needed to do a better job blocking against USC than had Minnesota (7.0) and they did.
Looking at Saturday's Minnesota-Oregon box score, the Gophers' Tori Dixon (.364) and Katherine Harms (.519) continued the excellent hitting they showed Friday night, whereas Ariana Filho (.000) fell off. Soph OH Ashley Wittman (.417) was there to take up the slack for Minnesota. The Gopher defense was sharp, outblocking the Ducks 15.0-7.0, with Minnesota's Jessica Granquist contributing 26 digs.
Oregon junior OH Alaina Bergsma took 40% of her team's spike attempts (63/158), hitting .270. Soph MB Ariana Williams (.400) and frosh OH Liz Brenner (.368) wielded the big hammers for the Ducks.