On the final night of the regular season, the Nittany Lions walked out of Rec Hall with their sixth Big Ten loss of the season.
After knocking off No. 3 Minnesota, who was previously unbeaten in Big Ten play last night in five sets, Penn State found itself in another five-set thriller, ultimately falling to No. 8 Wisconsin 3-2.
Riding a wave of momentum entering the fifth set of action, the Nittany Lions and Badgers traded blows back-and-forth throughout the final set, easily surpassing the 15-point mark which usually signifies the end of the fifth set.
Although Penn State had multiple match points, the Nittany Lions couldn’t get the point they needed when it mattered most, falling 21-19 in the final set in front of an energized white out crowd.
Prior to the thrilling overtime fifth set, however, the first set saw Wisconsin get off to a strong start, jumping out to a four-point lead early in the set.
While the Nittany Lions tried to mount a comeback, dropping the Badger lead to just two, Wisconsin started to pull away again, grabbing a five-point lead as it approached 20 points.
The five-point advantage was enough for the Badgers, as Wisconsin held on to win the opening set inside Rec Hall 25-20, taking a 1-0 lead on the night.
Unlike the first set, Penn State got off to a strong start in the second frame, keeping the set close as it progressed over double digits. After being tied at nine, Penn State went on a 9-3 scoring run to force a Wisconsin timeout with the Nittany Lions seemingly in control.
Coming out of the timeout, the Badgers made a game of it, closing it down to just a one-point lead for Penn State. Then, with the score 22-21, the Nittany Lions went on their second run of the set, escaping with a 25-22 victory on Allyson Cathey’s third kill of the night.
With the match tied 1-1 on the night, the third set was another close one, with the Badgers maintaining a small lead throughout the first half of the set.
Late in the set, the Badgers regained the momentum, jumping out to a 21-16 lead and forcing Penn State’s final timeout of the set.
The timeout worked, however, as the Nittany Lions closed back in, tying the match at 23. Although the Rec Hall crowd back in the match, Wisconsin was able to score the next two points, winning the third set 25-23, taking a 2-1 lead on the night.
With their backs against the wall, the Nittany Lions got off to their best start of the night, taking an 11-3 lead to begin the fourth set.
While Wisconsin made a small charge throughout the middle of the set, Penn State maintained a fairly comfortable lead, winning 25-19 to force a fifth set for the second night in a row, which the Nittany Lions would ultimately drop.
Nia Reed led Penn State offensively in her final regular season game in Rec Hall with 20 kills, hitting .294. Senior Bryanna Weiskircher added 60 assists in the loss.