BiThe top-ranked Penn State volleyball team extended its current winning streak to 19 matches with a 15-11, 15-3, 15-3 win over No. 23 Minnesota at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions have won 39 consecutive Big Ten matches and 71 matches at home. Minnesota falls into a second-place tie with Illinois in the Big Ten at 8-2 and is 17-5 overall.
The Nittany Lions were dominant defensively, forcing 34 Minnesota errors and holding the Gophers to a .045 hitting percentage. Stephanie Hagen was a bright spot for Minnesota with 18 kills and a .455 hitting percentage. Lauren Cacciamani pounded 14 kills for Penn State, who improved to 20-1 and 10-0 in the Big Ten.
The Gophers started strong in the first game, racing out to a 5-1 lead. Nicole Branagh served four of the points, with two coming on Minnesota blocks. Penn State forced ties at 5 and 7, but Minnesota took its final lead of the game at 9-7. Penn State ended the game on an 8-1 run to win the opener, 15-10. The Nittany Lions outhit the Gophers, .204-.107, and forced Minnesota into 12 hitting errors.
Penn State scored the first six points of the second game on the serve of Amanda Rome. Minnesota contributed four hitting errors in the run for the Nittany Lions. Minnesota pulled to within 8-3, but Penn State scored the final seven points to win the second game, 15-3. The Gophers committed 15 hitting errors in the game to Penn State's four.
The Nittany Lions were more efficient offensively in the third game, building an 8-1 lead and was not threatened after that. The Nittany Lions hit .529 in the final game, committing just two hitting errors.
Minnesota returns home to the Sports Pavilion to battle Michigan State next Friday at 7 p.m.