Flames Perform Well Against No. 2 Penn State; Lost in Three Sets
EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. – The UIC volleyball team (4-6/0-0 HL) made No. 2 Penn State work for every point on Sunday afternoon as the Flames lost in straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-17) inside the Mother McAuley Gym at the Chicago Classic. UIC held the held the lead over PSU on several occasions in the first two sets, but the Nittany Lions’ size at the net proved to be the difference maker as they posted 14 team blocks compared to UIC’s six.
Overall the Flames went 1-2 on the weekend, but didn’t leave the South Side empty handed as senior Janise Dismuke was selected to the All-Tournament. The 6-1 middle hitter totaled 21 kills and nine blocks in three tourney games.
“I’m really proud of our play today,” said head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley. “We never stopped competing and that’s what I like to see. We have to continue to get better and get ready for conference season.”
The Flames came out firing in the first set forcing PSU into six ties and four lead changes within the first 13 points. With the Flames down just one point at 16-15, the Nittany Lions went on a six-point surge to extend their lead to 22-15 and putting the game out of reach with a final tally of 25-17. Kelsey Safranek paced UIC with five kills in the first set with as Sara Sternard and Aubrey Sniegowski chipped in three and two, respectively.
Set number two followed much of the same script as the first with UIC charging out the gate and owning a 5-1 edge over Penn State. The Flames kept battling and with the score knotted at 11-11, the Nittany Lions rattled off four straight points to go up 15-11. They would eventually claim the set, 25-18, using their size advantage to win jump balls at the net.
PSU got into a rhythm early in the third set and led the Flames 8-2 off the jump. The Flames didn’t relent, displaying several rallies and closed the gap to within four points at three separate moments. With the tally at 20-12 in favor of Penn State, UIC matched the Nittany Lions point-for-point down the stretch to produce a final score of 25-17.
UIC returns to action on Friday at noon CT as they travel to Memphis, Tenn. and play the Tigers in the first game of a four-team tournament, including Louisiana-Lafayette and Belmont.