Volleyball can't contain No. 8 Penn State, Hofstra
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Holy Cross volleyball team fell to No. 8 Penn State and Hofstra on the second day of the Penn State Classic on Saturday, Aug. 31.
In the first contest of the day, freshman Gracyn Benck had eight kills to lead the Crusaders (0-3). Against Hofstra, junior outside hitter Rachel Harding had a double-double of 11 kills and 12 digs; junior setter Shannon Dwyer had 12 assists and junior libero Sophie VanSeveren had 18 digs.
Harding was named to the Penn State Classic All-Tournament Team after totaling 25 kills and 27 digs on the weekend.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Crusaders couldn’t get past Penn State early in the first set, trailing 5-0 before a kill from junior outside hitter Rachel Harding put Holy Cross on the board. From there, the Nittany Lions outscored Holy Cross 20-4 to take the first set.
- In the second set against the Nittany Lions, Penn State took a 3-0 lead; the Crusaders scored three of the next five points to cut within 5-3, capped by a kill from junior outside hitter Renée LeBlanc. After a kill from Harding brought Holy Cross within 8-4, Penn State had three straight points to force a Holy Cross timeout. Benck had back-to-back kills out of the timeout to bring Holy Cross within five points; though Penn State took the next two points, a Nittany Lion attack error and another kill from Benck made the score 13-9. However, Penn State outscored the Crusaders 12-3 over the remainder of the set to take the win.
- Holy Cross stayed close early in the third set, and came within 8-6 after a kill from Benck. Kills from Benck and junior middle blocker Clare Honan and a pair of Penn State errors later brought the Crusaders within a score of 11-10, but Penn State went on an 8-2 run to take a 19-11 lead, and the Crusaders could not overcome the deficit.
- Harding and junior outside hitter Emmerson Smith had a pair of kills to give Holy Cross an early 2-0 lead against Hofstra, and the team’s lead grew to 7-2 after back-to-back kills from Harding and Smith again. Hofstra climbed back in within 9-7 to force a Crusader timeout, after which the Crusaders rebuilt their lead to five points, 14-9.
- Hofstra rallied back to tie the set at 15-15, and though VanSeveren notched the next point to give Holy Cross a 16-15 lead, the Pride stuck around to keep the score knotted at 18 points apiece. Hofstra took its first lead of the night at 19-18, and though a kill by Harding tied up the set again at 20-20, the Pride had five of the next six points to take the first set, 25-21.
- The Pride had the first four points of the second set before a Hofstra attack error and a kill from Harding got the Crusaders on the board. Benck had a kill to keep Holy Cross within 9-7, but the Crusaders could pull no closer for the remainder of the set as Hofstra took a 25-13 win.
- Smith’s kill gave Holy Cross the first point of the third set, and the teams traded points early. With the score tied at 6-6, a kill from Benck, an attack error by the Pride and a kill from LeBlanc gave the Crusaders a 9-6 lead, but Hofstra came back to tie the game at 11-11. Though Smith had another kill to give the Crusaders the lead back, it would be their final lead of the night, as Hofstra took the next five points. Holy Cross stayed within striking distance late, as a kill from Honan made the score 22-18, but Hofstra did not let the Crusaders cut closer, taking a 25-20 win.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- The Crusaders faced tough competition on Saturday, as both Penn State and Hofstra qualified for the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
- Rookies Emma VanSeveren and Grace Kenkel made their collegiate debuts in the match against Penn State.
- Harding’s double-double against Hofstra was the first by a Crusader this season.
- Holy Cross returns to New England to compete at the Holly Young Invitational on Sept. 6 and 7.
- The Crusaders will play the host, the University of New Hampshire, on the 6th at 7 p.m. The next day, Holy Cross will play Seattle University at 10 a.m., followed by Brown at 2:30 p.m.