Four-Peat! Women's volleyball beats Cal, 3-0, for NCAA title

Video: Follow the team's journey from the pre-match pep rally to the celebration on the floor after the victory
Video: Post-match press conference
Listen to the radio call of the championship point
Photo gallery

Kansas City, Mo. — The fourth-seeded Penn State women's volleyball team made history one more time winning the 2010 NCAA National Title with a 3-0 (25-20, 27-25, 25-20) sweep of California. The Nittany Lions became the first team in Division I women's volleyball to win four consecutive national championships.

This is the fifth NCAA championship of Coach Russ Rose's career, the most national championships ever for a Division I volleyball head coach. He joins Doug Dannevik of Division III UC San Diego and Teri Clemens of Division III Washington-St. Louis as the only collegiate volleyball coaches to have ever won at least five national championships.

Senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) led all players with 18 kills, while freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) tallied 16 and senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) posted 12. Sophomore setter Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 46 assists and freshman Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) led all players with three aces. Senior Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) led the team with 13 digs, while Brown contribute 10. Freshman Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) had a match-high seven total blocks and Brown was second on the team with four.

Penn State hit .276 for the match and held the Bears to .182 hitting. The Nittany Lions totaled 54 kills, four aces, 52 digs and 8.0 total team blocks. California finished the match with 37 kills, three aces, 45 digs and 11.0 team blocks.

NCAA Championship members included Penn State's Brown, Wilson, Carpenter, California's Carli Lloyd and Tarah Murrey, and Texas' Julianne Faucette. McClendon was named the championship's Most Outstanding Player. McClendon joins Stanford's Kerri Walsh as the only freshmen to win Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. 

The Nittany Lions opened the match taking a 3-1 lead, but the Bears fought back and tied it at 4-4. Back-to-back kills by Scott put Penn State back in the lead, 6-4. Penn State maintained the lead and was leading by five, 12-7, when Cal called its first timeout. The Bears came within one, 12-11, but kills from McClendon, Brown and Wilson and a D'Errico ace moved PSU up by four, 16-12. A 3-0 Cal run had the Bears trailing by one, 16-15, but two Cal errors and a Wilson putdown kept the lead out of Cal's reach. McClendon pounded a kill to give PSU a 21-17 lead and send Cal to the bench for a second timeout. A PSU service error and a kill by Tarah Murrey had the Bears within three, 22-19, but two Brown kills and one from Scott closed out set one for PSU, 25-20.

The second frame was close from the start with neither team able to develop any momentum to take a strong lead. It was until midway through the set that Cal took a 14-10 lead on two kills and a PSU error. A Wilson kill cut off the Cal run and Brown followed it up with one of her own to move Penn State within two, 14-12. Despite a Cal kill, a Wilson kill and a huge block by Slay had Penn State behind by only one, 15-14. Cal's lead grew to three, 17-14, but a net violation, a joint stuff by Brown and Slay and a McClendon kill had the score knotted at 17-17. After a timeout, another block by Brown and Slay put the Lions in the lead, 18-17. Penn State moved ahead by two, 19-17, but a kill by Cal kept the Bears just behind. McClendon gave PSU some breathing room with a kill, but Cal used another kill and a block to tie it up at 20-20. A Scott kill edged PSU ahead, but Cal was right there with a kill of its own to make it 21-21. The score tied twice more before two straight Bear kills put Cal in the lead, 24-23. After a timeout by the Nittany Lions, Brown and Wilson joined forces for a block to tie the set at 24-24. However, Cal's Carli Lloyd tallied a kill to put Cal at set-point for a second time. Penn State burned its second time out. Carpenter and Slay teamed up for a block to tie the set at 25-25. Brown pounded a kill to give Penn State the lead and put down another to secure set two for Penn State, 27-25.

The third set started out close until a 4-0 Cal run gave the Bears a 7-4 advantage. Wilson cut off the run with a kill, but a PSU error and a Cal block moved the Bears ahead by four, 10-6. Penn State called a timeout and used a 7-2 run to take a slim 13-12 lead forcing the Bears to call a timeout. The Nittany Lions followed the break with a 4-0 run, including two Longo aces for a 17-12 lead. Cal burned its second timeout. Murrey followed the timeout with a kill, but Brown fired back with her own to keep PSU up by five, 18-13. Two consecutive Cal points had the Bears within three, 18-15. The teams each registered a point before a 4-0 PSU run had the Lions leading by seven, 23-16. Cal cut off the PSU run with a block before a Wilson kill put Penn State in match-point position. The Bears held Penn State to three match-points before the Lions took a timeout. Slay closed out the set and the match with a kill.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011