The Big Ten Network picked the right volleyball match to televise on Wednesday night.
Penn State defeated the visiting Gophers 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11 in a match that took 2 hours, 40 minutes. Ariel Scott, a 6-4 first team All-America hitter, led the No. 4-ranked Nittany Lions (13-2, 4-1) with 25 kills and seven blocks.
The No. 11 Gophers (15-3, 3-2), looking for their first victory at University Park, Pa., since 2003, made it dramatic. Senior middle blocker Tori Dixon had 17 kills and nine blocks for the Gophers and senior outside hitter Ashley Wittman had 18 kills and 22 digs.
“It would be easy to just take out a piece of paper and say ‘Stop Dixon,’ but you just can’t stop Dixon,” Penn State coach Russ Rose said before the match. “She is hitting close to .500 for the year, and that is against the top teams. She’s a strong, talented and passionate player.”
Daly Santana also had a double-double for Minnesota with 15 kills and 11 digs. Alexandra Palmer had 46 assists.
The Gophers hit .208 for the match, Penn State .245.
The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series with Minnesota 41-8 and have won the past six meetings.
The Gophers play at Ohio State on Saturday.
U forward acclaimed
Gophers forward Rachael Bona, a junior from Coon Rapids, has been named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week. She had four goals and three assists as Minnesota opened its season with a series sweep at Colgate last weekend.
Bona’s goals included both winners and an unassisted, shorthanded score. She finished the weekend with 10 shots on goal and a plus-7 rating.
The Gophers won the first game 3-1, the second 8-3.
Bona tied her career-game high with two goals in each game and tied her career high for points in a game with four on Saturday. Her seven points in the series was a career best as well.
Goalie Alex Rigsby of Wisconsin — the Gophers’ opponent this weekend at Ridder Arena — was the WCHA’s defensive player of the week and forward Susanna Tapani of North Dakota was the rookie of the week. Rigsby had a .981 save percentage as the Badgers swept Minnesota State Mankato 3-0 and 5-1.