Nittany Lady Lions On Top of College Volleyball World After Dominating Tourney
From 2007 – 2010, the Penn State Nittany Lions Women’s Volleyball Team rattled off four consecutive Division I National Championships. In the process, they became one of the most dominant modern-day squads in the collegiate ranks. It is rare for a team to win a string of championships in any sport on any level, and four in a row etched the Nittany Lions into college volleyball history.
After laying low for a few years and letting other teams experience the rush and thrill of participating in the final, the Women Nittany Lions once again returned to prominence this season, handling almost every opponent en route to a 34 – 2 record. This earned them the #2 overall ranking heading into a tournament of the 64 best volleyball teams in the nation.
PSU won each of their first two matches of the tournament in convincing fashion, blanking their opponent 3 – 0 before they prevailed 3 – 1 over a feisty Michigan State Spartans team in the regional semifinals. Stanford University seems to be building a similar program on the other side of the nation, and the Cardinal gave the Nittany Lions all they could handle in a match that turned out to be good preparation for the Final Four.
Penn State once again shattered the hopes of a Pac – 12 team when they knocking off Washington 3 – 0 to advance to the National Championship against the Wisconsin Badgers, who came into the tournament with the #12 ranking.
Knowing that it was imperative to get out to a quick start and not give the Badgers any momentum, the leaders of the experienced PSU squad took control the game. The silky smooth Arial Scott ended the night with an astounding 21 kills, and many of them came at pivotal moments that demoralized a Wisconsin team that came into the night hoping to make volleyball history.
Fellow senior Katie Slay did plenty of damage while adding 14 kills of her own, and AJ McLendon was her normal feisty and aggressive self while compiling double-digit kills and almost reaching double-digits in digs. The clock struck midnight for Wisconsin about halfway through the match, and the Cinderella team went back home with a 3 – 1 defeat yet plenty to be proud of. The action was close throughout the match, and the teams were within a few points of each other for the vast majority of the night.
The win means that Penn State has officially reestablished itself as a modern-day volleyball dynasty. The impact on recruiting will be like a domino effect in Happy Valley as the strongest high school volleyball players up and down the East Coast and beyond are becoming interested in playing on a close-knit team with a passionate following that is built for repeated success. The win brought the overall National Championship count for the Penn State Women’s Volleyball Team to six. Prior to the astounding four season run last decade, Penn State won its first championship in Hawaii against the aforementioned Stanford Cardinal in 1999.