PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Final Four Preview: Penn State Volleyball Battles Familiar Foe Nebraska For A Spot In The Title Game

Top-seeded Penn State women’s volleyball (33-1, 19-1 Big Ten) is back on the big stage of the Final Four. The program is among the sport’s most dominant — reaching this point 13 times, including eight appearances in the last 11 years, for an NCAA-record seven national titles.

It’s the first time the Nittany Lions have reached the national semifinals since 2014 — falling in the Sweet 16 each of the last two years.

Playing in front of large crowds in professional arenas has become part of the Penn State experience — something that this team has missed out on in recent years. In Kansas City’s Sprint Center Thursday night, the Nittany Lions will be where they belong.

“Soak it in, enjoy the experience, and just play the game. Enjoy the game for what it is,” senior middle blocker Haleigh Washington said alums have told her. “This is a part of the Penn State program — getting to play in these big arenas and working hard to play in these arenas. This isn’t something that we’ve been given, but it’s something we’ve worked hard to earn.”

Washington, along with fellow first team All-American Simone Lee and many of the six other seniors have seen what it takes to succeed at this level — having been part of the 2014 Penn State national title-winning team. Their class, which was deemed one of the greatest recruiting classes in women’s volleyball, has been tormented by Nebraska through the years — dropping the last six matches to the Cornhuskers.

Naturally, Penn State’s opponent Thursday will be Nebraska — the four seed that shared the Big Ten title with Penn State after defeating it in straight sets during the rivals’ lone meeting in 2017.

“I don’t know if frustrating’s the right word,” Lee said when asked if the Cornhuskers’ recent edge over the Nittany Lions is getting irritating.

“It’s just something that we’ve got to be more prepared for. As much as we want to win those last matches, like Haleigh’s been saying, like we’ve all been saying. We can’t look to the past. It’s about the game that’s going to happen tomorrow and how we’re preparing for it today and how we’ve been preparing for it the rest of the week.”

Penn State, a senior-laden team with about as much experience on the floor as any team in the country, faces a Nebraska side that was supposed to be in a rebuilding year after losing three key seniors from last season. The Cornhuskers looked like they might struggle in 2017, entering that Big Ten opener with three losses.

Nebraska — which has been to the last three Final Fours and was national champion in 2015 — found its groove this year after sweeping the Nittany Lions, dropping just one match and looking dominant in the process.

So what’s going to be different this time around?

“I think since the first Nebraska match, we’ve clicked with the chemistry kind of thing. So we work well off the pass, off the set, then eventually with the attacking,” Washington said. “It’s also being able to do that well out of system. I think in system, it’s easy for teams to do that. But being able to have that same chemistry when things aren’t going your way, I think that’s something we’ve worked on.”

Penn State will have history on its side, however. Nebraska owns a large series lead in both total matches and NCAA Tournament matches, but the Nittany Lions won the only two Final Four meeting between the programs.

Penn State-Nebraska airs live from Kansas City on ESPN at 7 p.m. Thursday night. Should the Nittany Lions advance, they’ll face either Stanford or Florida on Saturday.

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a junior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tried to be a photographer once, but the only good thing that came out of it is a name for his future sports bar, The Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide), email him at [email protected], or come say hi to him in his office, the Irving's basement.


State College Links
More by Steve

State College Police Investigating Connected Rape, Sexual Assault Cases

The State College Police Department is investigating a series of related rape cases from 2010-11, and their connection with a July 2017 sexual assault downtown.

From Manager To Walk On: Penn State Softball’s Ashton Mensinger Enjoying Unexpected Opportunity

Penn State Men’s Lacrosse’s Ryan Keenan Selected In MLL Draft


Tony Carr Signs With Octagon Basketball Agency

Carr will join Steph Curry and Giannis Antetokoumpo at one of the NBA’s premier talent agencies.

Penn State Baseball, Lion’s Pantry Join Forces To Help Fight Food Insecurity

Penn State Men’s Gymnastics Sophomore Stephen Nedoroscik Crowned Pommel Horse National Champion

Penn State Baseball’s Offense Better Suited For Football

Club Cross Country Hosts Not-Hoosier Half Marathon After Nationals Cancellation

Student Life

Night Of Remembrance To Honor Students Who Passed Away This Year

The ceremony will include music, secular readings, a reading of the students’ names, candle lighting, and an open student testimonial.

Penn State Baseball, Lion’s Pantry Join Forces To Help Fight Food Insecurity

It’s Thyme For The Student Farm Club’s Annual Plant Sale

Saquon Barkley Shows Some Skin On SI Cover

The NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 26, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Barkley is expected to be a top-five pick, and he and his most vehement supporters say there’s no reason he won’t go No. 1 overall.

The Grades Are In: How Blue-White Players To Watch Performed

Micah Parsons, Nick Tarburton, and Lamont Wade all did themselves well in new positions over the weekend, while Sean Clifford showed us what he’s capable of.

Two Found Guilty In Murder Of Penn State Professor

Two people will spend the rest of their lives in prison after a Centre County jury on Monday found them guilty of murdering Penn State professor Ronald Bettig in August 2016.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Oh, The People You See On A Nice Day In State College

Nice weather brings everyone out of their caves. Here are some of the types of people you may see if you step outside of yours.

Send this to a friend