No. 5 Penn State Blocks Way To 3-1 Win Over No. 7 USC

Sept. 1, 2005

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Freshman Nicole Fawcett registered 18 kills, including two for her team's final four points Wednesday, as the No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions registered a 3-1 victory (30-23, 30-27, 28-30, 30-28) over the No. 7 USC Women of Troy. It was the opening match for the 2005 Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Penn State (2-1) used a physical presence at the net with 21 team blocks, including 13 blocks from freshman Christa Harmotto. On the evening, Harmotto added 12 kills and did not have a hitting error to post a robust .571 percentage.

Senior outside hitter Staci Venski led USC (1-1) with a career-high 22 kills while sophomore outside hitter Diane Copenhagen also had a career-high with 17 kills.

Penn State jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the first game before USC battled back as Venski registered a solo block to tie the game at 15 apiece. Freshman Roberta Holehouse pushed the Nittany Lions to the lead with five straight service points, including several aces, as Penn State won the first game.

The Women of Troy found themselves down 28-24 in game two. Three straight points brought them closer before Fawcett pounded another kill and a USC service error wrapped up a 2-0 lead for the Nittany Lions.

Venski dominated game three with eight kills in the match, including two key points after USC trailed, 27-26. She registered the solo block with the game tied at 28 and freshman Kelli Tennant followed with a service ace for a USC game three win.

Both teams played evenly in game four. USC held a slim lead at 24-22 before PSU scored four straight points, once again on the service of Holehouse. After USC scored a point, Venski hammered a kill and Copenhagen put one down from the back row. Penn State called a time out, but Venski added another kill for a 28-26 advantage. Fawcett turned the tide with a kill to make it 28-27. Two more points and another Fawcett attack bounced off USC's block out of bounds to clinch the victory for the Nittany Lions.

USC will play host and No. 4 Hawai'i tomorrow night. The match starts at 7 p.m. Hawaiian time and will be broadcast on the Internet at

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