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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Volleyball: Northwestern defeats Rutgers, falls to No. 14 Penn State

Daily file photo by Ziye Wang
Sophomore outside hitter Averie Hernandez hits the ball. Hernandez tallied 20 total kills in this weekend’s matches against Rutgers and Penn State.

Northwestern split this weekend’s matches against Rutgers and No. 14 Penn State.

The Wildcats (13-15, 7-11 Big Ten) began on the road with a four-set victory against the Scarlet Knights (10-18, 2-16 Big Ten), extending their win streak against Rutgers to seven.

Set one started slowly for NU until back-to-back kills from sophomore outside hitter Averie Hernandez forced a 7-7 tie. Graduate student outside hitters Maddy Chinn and Julia Sangiacomo kept the ‘Cats in the game, but the Scarlet Knights pulled ahead to end the set 25-23.

NU shook off its shaky start in set two, with senior middle blocker Leilani Dodson providing two kills within the first four points, while Hernandez and Sangiacomo held down the offense with five kills apiece. After stifling the Scarlet Knights’ comeback attempt, the ‘Cats took the set 25-19.

Rutgers came out of the gates strong to start set three, going up 7-3. Eight Sangiacomo kills later, and NU was back in the driver’s seat, 14-13, forcing the Scarlet Knights to take a timeout one point later. A well-rounded push from the ‘Cats and back-to-back-to-back kills from Chinn allowed NU to win the set 25-17. 

The ‘Cats started set four on a 6-1 run. The Scarlet Knights trimmed the deficit to one, but NU, assisted by kills from sophomore middle blocker Kennedy Hill and Hernandez, soon went on a 5-0 run. The ‘Cats kept the pressure on until the end, taking the set 25-16 and the match 3-1.

It was NU’s lone win of the weekend, however, as the ‘Cats fell in three sets to the Nittany Lions (19-8, 13-5 Big Ten) Saturday. 

Penn State started strong in set one, immediately going on a 4-0 run. Despite holding their own through several long rallies, NU was hit by the Nittany Lions, .483 to .115, and was ultimately bested 25-15. 

Set two began with the teams trading points. With the score tied at eight, Penn State went on a 3-0 run, which they held onto until another tie at 19 after a Rousseau kill. The ‘Cats held tight with the Nittany Lions, but were defeated 25-23.

NU went up 9-6 in the third set, thanks to a well-rounded offensive effort. But, Penn State went on a 4-0 run to reclaim the lead 16-15, and capitalized on some last-minute errors by the ‘Cats to take the set 25-22, and the match 3-0.

The ‘Cats will be back in action next weekend at Welsh-Ryan Arena to finish Big Ten play against Iowa and Illinois. NU has a chance to earn its second consecutive season with at least a .500 record if they win both matches. 

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Twitter: @pleonegetten

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