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VIDEO: NCAA Championship Post-Match Press Conference

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VIDEO: 2013 National Champions


SEATTLE - Head coach Russ Rose, senior Ariel Scott and juniors Micha Hancock and Dominique Gonzalez address the media after Penn State won its sixth NCAA championship with a 3-1 win over Wisconsin on Saturday.




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VIDEO: 2013 NCAA Women's Volleyball Champions!

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SEATTLE - Head onto the floor and celebrate with the 2013 NCAA champion Nittany Lion women's volleyball team after knocking off Wisconsin, 3-1, inside KeyArena on Saturday.

Penn State is atop the volleyball world for the sixth time in program history.  Enjoy sights and sounds of national championship No. 6 in Seattle.




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NCAA Title Match Blog - Penn State vs. Wisconsin

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SEATTLE - Welcome to live coverage from Penn State women's volleyball's NCAA title bout against Big Ten foe Wisconsin inside KeyArena.  Stay tuned throughout the match for interactive coverage from courtside.

 



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VIDEO: NCAA Title Match Preview with Assistant Coach Steve Aird

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NCAA Title Match Central

SEATTLE - The second-seeded Nittany Lion women's volleyball team is set to collide with Wisconsin on Saturday inside KeyArena at 9:30 p.m. ET (TV - ESPN2) in the national championship match.

The Nittany Lions practiced on Saturday morning in preparation for the match against the Badgers.  GoPSUsports.com previewed the national title match with assistant coach Steve Aird.




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National Championship Central: Preview Day in Seattle

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VIDEO: National Title Match Breakdown with Steve Aird


SEATTLE - The second-seeded Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will play in the national title match on Saturday against Wisconsin at 9:30 p.m. ET (TV - ESPN2).

Penn State practiced for 90 minutes on Friday following a national championship preview press conference.  Take a look through Friday coverage from Seattle as the Lions prep for their ninth national championship match appearance.


VIDEO: Friday Practice & Press Conference Highlights
Take a look through some video highlights of Friday's pre-national championship press conference with head coach Russ Rose and seniors Maddie Martin and Ariel Scott and junior Dominique Gonzalez.



Stat Breakdown:

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Noting Penn State in the National Title Match
9558600.jpeg- The Nittany Lions will be playing in their ninth national championship match.  Penn State is 5-3 in title matches, with victories in 1999, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
- Penn State's five national championships ranks second behind Stanford in NCAA history.  The Cardinal have won six titles and played in the final match 14 times.
- Penn State's combined record in seasons when it reached the national championship match is 311-18.
- In Penn State's three setbacks in the national title match, the Lions played five-set matches in 1997 (vs. Stanford) and 1998 (vs. Long Beach State).  The Lions dropped a 3-1 decision to Long Beach State in their first trip to the title match (1993).
- In the Lions' five national title match victories, they knocked off three opponents (Stanford in 1999, Stanford in 2008 and Cal in 2010) in straight sets.  Penn State beat Stanford in 2007 and Texas in 2009 in five-set matches.


Meet the Wisconsin Badgers
By Brian Tripp, Penn State Women's Volleyball Radio Analyst

Quick Facts:
- As the 12th overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin is the lowest seed to reach the championship match. The previous lowest was Stanford at No. 11 in 2004.
- Wisconsin is attempting to win its first volleyball national championship. The Badgers fell 3-2 to Nebraska in the 2000 championship match held in Richmond, Va., It was the only other time the program reached the tournament's final weekend.
- Wisconsin is 9-0 in neutral court matches this season, including non-conference tournament victories at the Pepperdine Classic, the North Dakota State Classic and NC State Tournament.
- The Badgers have won nine of their last 10 matches, including six-straight.

Projected Starters:
- Setter: #1 Lauren Carlini
was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after setting the Badgers to a 12-8 conference record. In Big Ten play, Wisconsin out-hit opponents .223 to .192. Carlini tied a career-best with six blocks against Penn State on Oct. 12 and is the only freshman to set a 5-1 offense among the top-25 teams in the country. She was last year's high school Gatorade National Player of the Year.
- Outside Hitter: #3 Courtney Thomas moved to outside hitter after Carlini recovered from an early season injury and posted a career-best 2.38 kills per set this season on .173 hitting. The junior has led the Badgers in kills eight times this season and tied for a team-best five blocks against Texas on Thursday.
- Libero: #4 Annemarie Hickey took over as the team's libero on Oct. 5 against Nebraska. The 5-8 senior is averaging a team-best 3.86 digs per set with 22-straight matches of double-figure dig totals. Her serving helped the Badgers to seven consecutive points in a crucial first set victory in Thursday's semifinal win over Texas.
- Defensive Specialist: #6 Taylor Morey provides defensive depth for Kelly Sheffield's Badgers averaging 2.65 digs per set. The transfer from Notre Dame recorded 9 digs against Texas Thursday night. Yet, the sophomore has been charged with 35 serve reception errors this season.
- Outside Hitter: #7 Deme Morales
is the shortest attacker in the Big Ten at 5-7. The junior is averaging 2.75 kills per set this season on .182 hitting. She is among six Badgers with at least 20 service aces this season and ranks third on the team with 2.78 digs per set. Morales totaled a career-high 20 kills against Purdue in the NCAA regional final to propel the Badgers to the national semifinals.
- Middle Blocker: #13 Haleigh Nelson
was one of two Badgers to be named to the Big Ten's All-Freshman team. The middle blocker leads the Badgers in blocks with 155, an average of 1.10 per set. She is also second on the team with a .316 hitting percentage, while averaging 1.74 kills per set.
- Middle Blocker: #14 Dominique Thompson comes from an athletic family with Big Ten roots. The redshirt junior middle blocker leads Wisconsin with a .323 hitting percentage and ranks second with 1.00 blocks per set. Thompson posted 10 kills and two blocks against Penn State on Nov. 15 in Madison.
- Outside Hitter: #20 Ellen Champman
led the Badgers offensively with 17 kills against Texas. Chapman also notched three service aces in the four-set victory. The junior has 12 or more kills in each NCAA tournament match and leads Wisconsin in kills this postseason. Her season average of 3.57 kills per set is tops among all players in Saturday's championship match. 

What They're Saying:
Head Coach Kelly Sheffield:
- On the win over No. 1 Texas: "We believed that we could win this match. I think that's a big part of anytime you go into anything. This has been a team that no matter who we played we believed, the players have believed that there's a way to win."
- On freshman setter Lauren Carlini: "She is 18 years old and she was born for this and the bigger the crowd, the more moxie that comes out of her, the more confidence. She doesn't lean on me.

Outside Hitter Ellen Chapman:
- On her team: "Our back court is the best back court in the country, and I never doubted them. I don't think anyone doubted them for a second."

Outside Hitter Deme Morales:
- On being undersized: "I think before it used to really like bother me when I was younger. But going through all this and going up against huge blockers...it fires me up. I just have to keep going at them. It just fires me up. It's more like a motivator."



Feature Story Corner

Link: Nittany Lions Show Great Poise on Big Stage


Match Day
With the Friday festivities over, it is now time to focus on national title match day in Seattle.  The Nittany Lions will practice mid-day on Saturday before the 9:30 p.m. (ET) first serve against Wisconsin.  Stay tuned for much more coverage from the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship.



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Lions Show Great Poise on Big Stage

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VIDEO: NCAA Semifinals Post-Match Interviews


SEATTLE - From the time wheels touched down on the Sun Country Airlines 737-800 at 2:26 p.m. PT on Tuesday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the second-seeded Nittany Lion women's volleyball team has had a smile on its face.

9557624.jpegThe 19 players on the roster and coaching staff know it is a reward for a team to make an appearance in the final weekend of the season.  The senior members of the roster have been to this weekend three times in their Nittany Lion careers, but they cherish the opportunity to compete on college volleyball's biggest stage.

While the stakes are higher than any other matches on the schedule, you wouldn't know it watching the Nittany Lions.  They practiced loose on Tuesday night on the campus of the University of Washington, and again at KeyArena during Wednesday's open practice.  The story was the same during the morning hit-around on Thursday.

Then came Thursday's NCAA semifinal bout against Washington, a team playing just four miles from its campus in front of a crowd clad in purple.

The Nittany Lions competed exactly how they had practiced - energetic, upbeat and with big smiles on their faces.  Led by a superb night from the trio of senior starters - Ariel Scott, Deja McClendon and Katie Slay - Penn State marched past Washington in just 81 minutes.

The vast majority of the 14,975 fans crammed inside KeyArena on Thursday were loud supporters of the Huskies, but the Nittany Lions weren't fazed.

They executed head coach Russ Rose's gameplan to perfection, and they had fun every second they were on the floor.

"It was a ton of fun.  I honestly can't describe the energy in here," McClendon said.  "Even though our fan section was a little bit smaller, they put up a huge fight, and they cheered us on really hard."

Penn State's corner of the arena was a boisterous group of supporters, including nearly 60 members of the Penn State Seattle alumni group and Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jordan Hill.

No strangers to loud atmospheres in Big Ten venues, Penn State has a knack for thriving on the big stage.  That starts with the great attitude on the floor.

"I think we play better with our backs against the wall," McClendon said.  "We have nothing to lose, and I really hope we come out the same way during the next game."

"It's just a good time.  I know as a senior I only have a couple matches left, and now just one match left with these girls," Slay said.  "I just want to make the most of it and be in the moment."

Washington jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the opening set, but the Nittany Lions were truly dominant from there.  Penn State closed set one on an 18-4 run, and they never looked back.  The Lions attacked at a blistering .488 clip, while committing just five errors.  The great offensive night was a byproduct of superb passing.

"I thought we handled the ball really well, had a really solid game plan, and especially the seniors and Micha played a great match," head coach Russ Rose said.  "To control the ball, it gives you opportunities to do some things."

The Nittany Lions will practice on Friday evening in KeyArena to prepare for the program's ninth trip to the NCAA title match.  Penn State will meet Wisconsin in the first all Big Ten national championship match on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.


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VIDEO: Women's Volleyball Sweeps Washington in NCAA Semifinals

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VIDEO: Post-Match Press Conference

SEATTLE - The second-seeded Nittany Lion women's volleyball team advanced to the NCAA championship match with a dominant 3-0 sweep against Washington inside KeyArena on Thursday.

Watch match point and hear reaction from seniors Deja McClendon and Katie Slay after Penn State punched its ticket to the national championship match for the ninth time in school history.




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VIDEO: Women's Volleyball NCAA Semifinals Post-Match Press Conference

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VIDEO: Nittany Lions Sweep Washington; Interviews


SEATTLE - Head coach Russ Rose and seniors Ariel Scott, Katie Slay and Deja McClendon address the media following Thursday's 3-0 victory over Washington in the NCAA semifinals.




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NCAA Match Blog - Penn State vs. Washington

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SEATTLE - Welcome to live coverage from Penn State women's volleyball's NCAA semifinal bout against Washington inside KeyArena.  Stay tuned throughout the match for interactive coverage from courtside.

 



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: NCAA Semifinals Preview with Assistant Coach Steve Aird

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SEATTLE - The second-seeded Nittany Lion women's volleyball team is set to collide with third-seeded Washington on Thursday inside KeyArena at 9:30 p.m. ET (TV - ESPN2) in the NCAA semifinals.

The Nittany Lions practiced on Thursday morning in preparation for the match against the Huskies.  GoPSUsports.com previewed the match with assistant coach Steve Aird.




Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony