Women’s Volleyball Earn Final Four Berth
The Nittany Lions started strong in set one, taking a 4-1 lead. Duke came back, however, to tie the set at five. Freshman Deja McClendon hit two of her seven kills in the set to give Penn State a 10-6 advantage, and the Nittany Lions never looked back, taking the set 25-19. McClendon finished the match with 20 kills and 10 digs.
Duke had the hot hand early in the second set and took a 2-0 lead, but Penn State responded with five point run. This lead held, and two blocks gave the Nittany Lions a 15-11 advantage heading into the television timeout. After the break, Duke scored four straight points to tie the set, but Penn State finished with a 10-3 run to win it, 25-18. Seniors Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson led the way for Penn State with four kills and three blocks each.
The third set was tight throughout, and Penn State struggled to put Duke away. With the set tied at 14, Duke went on a 7-2 run. The Nittany Lions made a comeback to tie the set at 23, but Duke won the next two points to take the set, 25-23.
Penn State came out with great intensity in set four and it paid off. The Nittany Lions shot out to a 9-3 lead, and Duke could never make up the difference. Penn State led by as much as 12 points in the 25-17 fourth set victory.
After the match, Wilson, Brown, and sophomore Kristin Carpenter were announced as part of the all-University Park Regional team. Brown was also named the most valuable player of the University Park Regional.
With the win, Penn State advances to the NCAA Tournament Semifinals against Texas. The match will be on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Kansas City, MO. This will be a rematch of last year’s national championship in which Penn State overcame a 2-0 deficit to win their third consecutive title. The winner will go to the finals on Saturday night.