Women's volleyball captures sixth NCAA national championship

December 22, 2013

SEATTLE -- The No. 2 Penn State women's volleyball team (34-2) captured its sixth NCAA women's volleyball national championship in program history, rallying past No. 12 Wisconsin (28-10) in four sets (25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23) Saturday evening (Dec. 21) in KeyArena. The victory marks the fifth national title in the last seven years for the Nittany Lions.

View photos from the match.

Earning their sixth national title, the Nittany Lions are now tied with Stanford for the most women's volleyball national championships.

Senior Ariel Scott fueled the offense with a match-high 21 kills, adding five digs. Senior Katie Slay also tallied double-digit kills with 14, adding three digs and three blocks. Senior Deja McClendon rounded out the double-digit performers with 11 kills, adding eight digs. The trio all earned spots in the NCAA All-Tournament team.

Junior Micha Hancock paced all three attackers to double-digit kills, dishing out 48 assists, adding 16 digs for a double-double. She also continued her stellar performance from behind the service line, registering three aces. Hancock earned the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honor for her performances against the Badgers and the Huskies.

Sophomore Megan Courtney and junior Dominique Gonzalez anchored the defense with 20 kills each.

Behind early in the first set, 5-3, Courtney pounded a pair of consecutive kills to tie it up, 5-all. The Badgers responded with two more kills to break away with a two-point lead, 7-5. The two teams continued trade points until Penn State used a 3-1 spurt to capture a 15-13 advantage. The Nittany Lions maintained the narrow advantage up until the midway point in the frame, when Wisconsin climbed within one, 16-15, following a kill from Deme Morales.

Regrouping, PSU put together a 4-0 streak to move ahead by five, 20-15, forcing the Badgers to call timeout. Following the break, Wisconsin fought within four, 22-18, but a kill from Slay and a solo stuff from Courtney put PSU at set-point, 24-18. The Badgers held off one attempt, but Scott closed out a 25-19 win in the first set with a kill to put Penn State up 1-0 in the match.

The Nittany Lions stormed out to a 6-1 lead in the second set, capped off by three consecutive kills from Scott. Wisconsin narrowed the margin to three, 6-3, helped out by back-to-back kills from Morales, but PSU used a 5-2 streak to stretch the lead to as many as six, 11-5. The Badgers rebounded with a 6-2 strike to arrive within two, 13-11. Slay attempted to spark some momentum with a kill, but Wisconsin answered with a 4-1 run to knot the frame, 15-15. Penn State and Wisconsin tied the stanza two more times before a PSU attack error and a Badger kill put UW ahead by two, 19-17.

Wisconsin pushed ahead by two, 21-19, before Penn State used a 3-0 spurt to move ahead by one, 22-21. Looking to close out the set, the Badgers used a 3-1 spurt to make it 24-23, but a service error tied the stanza, 24-all. Scott answered with two consecutive kills to lock up a 26-24 win in the second set.

Penn State came out of the break firing, using a 5-1 streak for an early lead. Wisconsin quickly erased the advantage, using a 4-0 run to knot the frame, 5-5. UW and PSU tied up the stanza three more times before the Nittany Lions used a 3-1 strike to crack open an 8-8 tie, moving up by two, 10-8.

With Penn State leading by one, 12-11, Wisconsin constructed a 6-0 run to take control of a five-point lead, 17-12. Halting the momentum, PSU used a 3-1 stretch to come within three, 18-15. Trailing by as many as four, 21-17, Grant attempted to spark an offensive push with a kill, but the Badgers answered with two more points to make it 23-18. Unable to settle into a rhythm, the Nittany Lions held off one set-point attempt, 24-20, but a service error handed the Badgers a 25-20 win in the third.

Leading by one in the fourth set, 7-6, Wisconsin used a 4-0 streak to claim a three-point lead, 10-7. Rallying back, Penn State used a 6-1 run to take over a two-point lead, 13-11. A PSU attack error and a kill from Wisconsin tied up the stanza, 13-13, but a kill from Scott and a block from Slay and Courtney kept the Nittany Lions on top, 15-13. Unable to shake the Badgers, Wisconsin responded with a 4-0 strike to go up by two, 17-15, forcing Pen State to call a timeout.

Fighting point-for-point, Penn State and Wisconsin kept it tied two more times before UW broke open an 18-all tie with a 4-1 streak to move ahead by three, 22-19. Hanging on, the Nittany Lions answered with a 4-1 run to knot the frame, 23-23. An ace from Hancock and a kill from McClendon finished off a 25-23 win in the fourth set and a victory in the match. 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 02, 2014