Match Preview: Northwestern v. Penn State

What: Northwestern (10-5, 1-3 Big Ten) vs. Penn State (10-4, 3-1 Big Ten)

Where: Rec Hall

When: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 – 8:00 p.m. ET (Late Start!)

Media: Live on BTN; GameTracker


Penn State


Penn State swept its two matches over the weekend, winning 3-0 against Wisconsin on Friday, and 3-0 against Minnesota on Saturday night.  Other than the scores (and the all-around solid play of 6-6 MB Katie Slay, who was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season), the matches didn’t bear much resemblance to one another.  In an interview with Dan Norton of the Daily Collegian, Head Coach Russ Rose made it clear that he was not pleased with his team’s effort against the Badgers (and praising the “Russ’s Rowdies” student section):

I’d like [the team] to be like the section of students [Russ’s Rowdies] that come out because they care and have fun. I’d like that instead of the blank faces I see when they make a mistake or when the other team does something good.

                                                                  Russ’s Rowdies whooping it up at Rec Hall 

Rose gave higher marks to the team for its performance against Minnesota, telling Dan Norton:

I’m appreciative of the fact that the kids found a way to work a little bit harder.

Which team will show up against Northwestern — the blank faces or the enthusiastic, harder working bunch?  We’re betting on that second group.  Oh, and we think Russ’s Rowdies will continue to be . . . rowdy. 


Here’s a link to Penn State’s statistical leaders (in an easy-to-view sortable table format 🙂 )

And here’s a table showing the NCAA rankings of Penn State and its players by statistical category:

Penn St. (10-4)
Women’s Volleyball National Ranking Summary
Thru 10-2-11


2011 Team Roster

NumberName PositionEligibilityHeightHometownState/Nation
1Scott, Ariel

MHSo.6-4RidgewoodNew Jersey
2 Kabbes, Katie OHSr.6-4RaleighNorth Carolina
4Gonzalez, DominiqueDSFr.5-6San AntonioTexas
5Carpenter, Kristin S/DSJr.5-6MechanicsvilleVirginia
6Martin, MaddieOHSo.6-2TampaFlorida
7Grant, NiaOHFr.6-2WarrenOhio
8Denny, Erica
MHFr. (RS)6-5CentennialColorado
10Racibarskas, Marika SJr.6-0ChathamNew Jersey
11Dorton, Darcy

OHSo. (RS)6-2MuncieIndiana
12Hancock, MichaSFr.5-11EdmondOklahoma
13Shifflett, Megan DS/SSr.5-6Falls ChurchVirginia
14Whitney, AiyanaOHFr.6-5RidgewoodNew Jersey
15Harding, MaggieDSFr. (RS)5-6State CollegePennsylvania
16Slay, Katie
MHSo.6-6RaleighNorth Carolina
18McClendon, Deja

23Longo, AliDSSo.5-6ChatfieldColorado
33Fuller, LaceyDSFr.5-6San DiegoCalifornia




Northwestern is coming off its first Big Ten win of the season, as it defeated Indiana (8-8, 0-4 Big Ten) Saturday night 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-17).   The Wildcats were led by 5-11 So. OH Stephanie Holthus (pre-season All Big Ten)with 11 kills,  6-1 Jr. MB Kathryn Chrystal, with 6 blocks, 5-7 Jr. L Julie Chin, with 15 digs, and 6-0 Fr. S Hannah Crippen, with 3 service aces.  

Northwestern’s head coach Keylor Chan praised his team after the match:

We played exceptionally well in all phases tonight.  We’ve been working really hard as a team and we executed against a great opponent. We were able to sustain the intensity tonight and that was huge for us.

Prior to the season, Chan said that the goal for the 2011 Wildcats was to make the NCAA tournament again.  

That’s going to be an evolving goal for this team, and I’m excited for that. We obviously have a whole bunch of new faces, and we need to reinvent ourselves. We have a lot of freshmen and some older girls who need to step into new roles.

For that to happen, Chan thought Holthus would need to improve on her very successful freshman year performance:

She’s going to have to take another step. We lost a lot of players who actually score points for our team, and Stephanie is going to have to fill that void. She led our team in attempts last year, so we know she can handle the load, but now she’s going to have to be one of the feature players that we have in our program. It’s a really exciting time for her, that’s why she wanted to come to Northwestern, and this is what she’s prepared her whole career to do, and now it’s her time. We’re excited to see her do it.

She came through against Indiana this past weekend.  Penn State may be another story. 


Here’s a link to Northwestern’s cumulative individual statistics as of 10-2-11.

And here’s a table showing the NCAA rankings of Northwesteren and its players by statistical category:

Northwestern (10-5)
Women’s Volleyball National Ranking Summary
Thru 10-2-11



 Northwestern 2011 Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht. Year Hometown High School


Holthus, Stephanie OH 5-11 SO Burlington, Ill. Central


Gray, Gabrielle S/OH 5-10 SO Cincinnati, Ohio Sycamore


Watson, Kirsten OH 6-2 FR Orlando, Fla. Olympia


Burnham, Maggie MB 6-3 FR Toledo, Ohio St. Ursula Academy


Chrystal, Kathryn MB 6-1 JR Crystal Lake, Ill. Crystal Lake Central


Chin, Julie LIB 5-7 JR Naperville, Ill. Naperville North


Crippen, Hannah S 6-0 FR Plainfield, Ill. North


Shalter, Madalyn OH 6-2 JR Ottawa, Ohio Ottawa-Glandorf


Ayers, Alex OH 5-11 SR Playa Del Rey, Calif. Marymount


Niedospial, Caroline LIB 5-7 FR Chicago, Ill. Marist


McGreal, Monica OH 5-11 FR Louisville, Ky. Sacred Heart


Gallagher, Mary Grace LIB 5-5 SR Atlanta, Ga. The Lovett School


Dutchman, Katie MB 6-0 RS FR Del Mar, Calif. Torrey Pines


Akanbi, Yewande OH 5-10 FR Houston, Texas Dawson