WSU Falls To No. 8 Penn State At NCAA Tournament Second Round

Dec. 2, 2000

STATE COLLEGE, Penn. -- The Washington State volleyball team ended its season at the hands of the defending national champion and 8th-ranked Penn State as the Lions won 15-6, 15-7, 9-15, 15-3, in a Pacific Region second round match held on the Nittany Lions campus Saturday night.

Before tonight's match, only Colorado had won an NCAA game over Penn State in Rec Hall, when the Buffs took a pair in a 3-2 loss in 1991. PSU has a 22-0 record when playing NCAA matches in its home of Rec Hall, and 20 of those were 3-0 wins.

A very young Washington State team finishes the season with a 19-10 overall record. The Cougars were the sixth seed in the Pacific Region. Penn State moves to 29-5, and will meet the winner of the Colorado-Colorado State match in the semi-finals of the Pacific Region next weekend.

Penn State's Katie Schumacher and Mishka Levy owned the left side of the net and with Schumacher's 22 kills leading the match. Levy had 14 kills but the timing of those were game stoppers against the Cougs. Cara Smith had 16 kills while Robyn Guokas had six blocks and Leilani Schlottfeldt had 16 digs.

'Between Schumacher and Levy, those are two of the hardest hitting players I've seen,' WSU coach Cindy Fredrick said. 'Schumacher hits the ball harder than just about anybody I've seen with the exception of maybe Kristee Porter (UCLA). She really hammers that ball.'

WSU was led by the 12 kills of Chelsie Schafer. LaToya Harris had 10 kills and 16 digs while Adrian Hankoff came off the bench for three games to tage 10 kills. Holly Harris had six blocks as WSU tallied seven team blocks to Penn State's eight.

The Lions hit .340 on the night with 74 kills to WSU's 53 kills The Cougars hit a respectable .227 but committed 14 service errors to only four aces.

The Penn State Lions came out of their den roaring to go but the hesitancy of play by the Washington State Cougars hurt the visitors substantially. Down only 7-5, WSU gave up a point to Schumacher but used back-to-back bangs by Chelsie Schafer to keep the difference at two, 8-6. Levy's kill gave PSU the sideout and then the Lions let loose. WSU was only able to tally two sideouts as the Lions scored the last seven points of the game for the 15-6 win. PSU hit .409 in the opening game while WSU hit a very respectable .245. The Cougars were out-blocked 3 to none.

The Cougars played more aggressively in game two but couldn't contain the Lions' scoring run. With PSU up 7-5, Schumacher tagged two kills and a block to stop the Cougars and increase the lead to 8-5. Penn State then tagged four consecutive points only to be stopped by a rare kill from WSU's defensive specialist, Kortney Jamtaas. Adrian Hankoff, subbed in for Zanda Bautre, scored a kill and followed with a very impressive solo block of Schumacher to close the gap to 12-7. Amanda Rome slowed the Hankoff barrage with a kill for the sideout but Adrian countered with a tip from the left side. Cara Smith's kill gave PSU possession and the Lions closed out the game with the final three points and the 15-7 win.

WSU ran up a 4-0 lead to start the third game only to see PSU answer with four points of its own. The Lions subbed in Shannon Bortner in place of Hayden at setter and the teams traded the next two points. The Cougars ripped off three points for a 9-6 lead and Penn State took a time out. Hayden re-entered at setter for the Lions but hitting errors by Levy and Smith put the Cougs up 11-6 when PSU took it's second timeout.

LaToya Harris drilled one down the line for the 12-6 lead. Levy nailed a kill for the PSU sideout when Trina Kightlinger, playing in place of Melissa Boyle, tagged her first kill of the NCAA tournament. PSU scored twice more and made two hitting errors to put WSU serving for the game. Schumacher's consecutive kills closed the gap to 14-9 but Holly Harris' kill gave the Cougars another attempt at game. Hankoff's cross-court slam gave WSU the 15-9 win and assured that Penn State would not sweep the match.

Penn State came off the third game loss as if nothing had happened and the Cougars were without any offensive weapons to counter the Lions. PSU took the fourth game 15-3, and the match, 3-1.

'If you can't get the serve in you can't win,' Cougar sophomore captain LaToya Harris said. '

'We try to have one rule on this team and that's don't beat yourself,' Cougar coach Cindy Fredrick said. 'And if you don't serve, you pretty much beat yourself.'

'Especially with a team like Penn State,' Kali Surplus said. 'You cannot make unforced errors and we made a whole lot of unforced errors.

Washington State loses only senior Trina Kightlinger and returns all six starters for the 2001 season.

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