Volleyball Swept by No. 1 Penn State, 3-0, in Nittany Lion Invitational
Sept. 6, 2008
The GW Volleyball team played competitively but was no match for defending national champion and top-ranked Penn State Saturday losing to the Nittany Lions, 25-18, 25-15, 25-11, at Penn State University's Rec Hall Friday. The No. 1 team in the nation needed just 64 minutes to dispatch the Colonials during day two of the Nittany Lion Invitational.
Junior co-captain Abby Syverson led the Colonials with six kills but managed to hit just .105 for six points. As a team, GW managed to hit just .053, compared to .330 (44-15-88) for Penn State. Alyssa Valentine assisted on 18 of GW's 21 kills and added five digs while senior libero Maggie Wright led GW with eight digs.
For the second straight match, GW was without the services of two of its better outside hitters in sophomore Leah Hill and freshman hitter Jenny O'Brien, both of whom have been sidelined with injuries.
GW opened the scoring in each of the three sets before the defending national champions rallied. Set one was the closest of the match as the teams battled through 11 ties, the last coming at 16-16. PSU then put together a 8-1 run to coast to the 25-18 victory.
Set two was tied, 5-5, before the Nittany Lions took charge with a 12-5 run for a 17-10 lead. Penn State outscored GW, 8-5 the rest of the way for the win. The third set was controlled by the host Lions almost from the outset as they built a 13-3 lead and were never threatened.
Penn State (5-0) was led by Megan Hodge's match-high 13 kills for 14.5 points matching teammmate Nicole Fawcett's 14.5 points on 12 kills, an ace and three block assists. Hodge is the daughter of former GW volleyball standout, Carmen Samuel-Hodge (`80).
The 2008 Nittany Lion Invitational All-Tournament Team:
Arielle Wilson, Penn State - MVP
Roberta Holehouse, PSU
Christa Harmotto, PSU
Dana Tartazky, Villanova
Maggie Mergen, Villanova
Martina Racic, Long Island
Abby Syverson, George Washington
It marked the 22nd meeting between the former A-10 Conference rivals but the first since 1991. The victory gave PSU a 20-2 advantage in the all-time series. It also marked only the second time a GW volleyball team has faced the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. GW fell to top-ranked Nebraska in the 1994 NCAA Tournament second round in the Colonials' only other match against a No. 1.
GW (3-2) returns to Smith Center to host the two-day GW Invitational this Friday and Saturday at Charles E. Smith Center. The Colonials will face Delaware State Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on Rider Saturday at 5 p.m.