Grace Vickers, seen here celebrating during a match against Providence, was named Most Outstanding Player of the America East tournament.
Photo by Terrece Lolie
Penn State knocks Bearcats out of NCAAsTweet
Top-ranked Penn State (30-2) hit .587 en route to a sweep of Binghamton (13-18) in a NCAA Tournament first -round volleyball match on Dec. 1, at Recreation Hall in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions won 25-11, 25-3, 25-9, advancing to a second-round match against Bowling Green in the process. The visiting Bearcats, meanwhile, concluded the season with their third NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005.
In 63 attack attempts, Penn State registered 40 kills and committed just three attack errors. In addition, the Nittany Lions turned in 12 service aces. Individually, Deja McClendon finished with 12 kills while Micha Hancock added 10 service aces and 33 assists.
Facing off against the Nittany Lions for the third time in NCAA Tournament action, Binghamton was led by senior outside hitter Iva Partaleva’s six kills and junior defensive specialist Xiomara Ortiz’s seven digs. Junior outside hitter Grace Vickers and senior middle hitter Alex Roland each added three kills.
Binghamton hung tough for the first part of the opening game, trailing by just 10-8 at one point. Partaleva had four kills and sophomore setter Amanda Dettman added three assists during that stretch.
From there, however, Penn State took command with an 11-1 run en route to the 25-11 victory. The Nittany Lions recorded a blistering .692 attack percentage in game one, recording 19 kills and just one attack error.
The floodgates opened up in the second game as the Nittany Lions scored the first 20 points. The Bearcats stopped the bleeding by scoring three of the next five points but Penn State closed out the game with two more unanswered points.
Hancock was the star of game two, nailing six service aces and dishing out seven assists. The Nittany Lions as a team hit .500, with eight kills and no attack errors. Binghamton, by contrast, was unable to record a kill.
Once again, the Nittany Lions opened up a huge lead to start the third game, scoring the opening 13 points. Hancock turned in a pair of service aces and five assists during that span. Binghamton played even with Penn State the rest of the game but the final three points belonged to the Nittany Lions.
Binghamton, which won its third America East title two weeks ago, will return 10 out of its 12 players next season.