Penn State is the National Champion

Penn State has won the (volley)ball game (okay, match) -

The Women's Volleyball team capped a fantastic season and record breaking tournament run with a 3 - 2 win over Standford Saturday night.

Aggressive and poised the Lions jumped out to a 2 - 0 lead. The first 2 games were close - but PSU was in control throughout - maintaining a 2 - 3 point lead going into the "twenties" -

The break after game 2 seemed to take forever - and the Lions came out a little flat - while Stanford came out attacking - led by the huge serve of Bryn Kehoe and the super humanness of Foluke Akinradewo, The Cardinal rallied to win games 3 and 4 convincingly. Stanford All-American, Cynthia Barboza, hadn't been a factor in the first two games but she and her team really stepped up their play and PSU looked as though they were "thinking" instead of just playing.

The 2 teams came out for game 5 - and traded points, with a slight edge to Stanford - And then PSU went on a tear - winning seven straight points with a no holds barred attitude. Junior, Christa Harmotto, and soph, Alisha Glass, were key to the run. They'd each had quiet(ish) games 3 & 4 - but they were ready for game 5. Kills by Nicole Fawcett and freshman, Arielle Wilson, and a key block brought the Lions to match point. On their first match point, soph, Megan Hodge, hit her 26th kill of the match - sealing the win and the Championship for Penn State.

It was a team effort - but Megan Hodge rose to rally her team when they were trailing - hitting huge "kills" and creating yet another "issue" for the Stanford defense. She was named tournament MOP.

The scoring went as follows - 30-25, 30-26, 23-20, 19-30, 15-8.

-Penn State tied the NCAA record for service aces in an NCAA Tournament with 43 in six matches.

- Penn State shattered the NCAA Tournament record for team hitting percentage, besting the previous mark of .369 set by the 1995 Long Beach State team. The 2007 Nittany Lions attacked at a combined .424 clip while averaging 16.75 kills per game through six matches.

PSU plays with so much power and aggressiveness that their defense is often overlooked - they're defense actually ranks in the 200s nationally - but Roberta Holehouse led all players with 17 digs, her 56th double-digit dig match over the last two seasons.

It was a great week for coach Russ Rose - who was named to the College Volleyball Hall of Fame and as the 2007 Coach of the Year.

Photo and stat specifics from GoPSUsports.com,

No comments: