Penn State Hooks Longhorns, Cruises Into NCAA Final
The Penn State women’s volleyball team cruised into the final of the NCAA Tournament with a sweep of Texas. The easy 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-22) victory came as a surprise in a match that was predicted to be tight.
Senior Blair Brown got the Nittany Lions off to a quick start, registering two kills to start the match. Penn State extended their lead to six before Texas got their first point. Penn State continued their dominance in the set and won 25-13. Brown, freshman Katie Slay and freshman Deja McClendon all had three kills in the set, while freshman Ariel Scott led the team with five. The Nittany Lions hit at a .556 hitting percentage in the easy first set victory.
Texas took the first point in the second set, but that was the only lead that they could manage. Penn State responded with four straight points to take the early advantage. Texas came back to tie the set at seven apiece, but the Nittany Lions went on a 4-1 run to force a Texas time out. Penn State gave up only five more points, and Brown served an ace to win the set 25-13. Scott continued her good match with four more kills and two blocks in the set.
Texas played its strongest set of the match in the third, but Penn State was able to pull it out for the sweep. The Nittany Lions were down 4-1 early in the set, but two straight errors by Texas and an ace from senior Alyssa D’Errico tied up the final set. With the scores tied at 13, Penn State won four straight points to take command. Texas could not get any closer than two points down, and the Nittany Lions won 25-22.
The scoring was spread out among the Nittany Lions. Brown had 12 kills and ten digs, Scott finished with ten kills, and McClendon had 11 kills while hitting at an amazing .733 hitting percentage. This win was easily Penn State’s most impressive match of the season, and the Nittany Lions will hope to keep this high level of play heading into the final.
The Nittany Lions will meet California in the NCAA Tournament Final at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are going for their fourth straight national championship, while California will be trying to win in their first final appearance.