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Sept. 11, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Almost three years ago to the day, the Penn State women's volleyball team lost a five-set match to Stanford on Sept. 15, 2007 in the Yale Classic. After three storybook seasons, No. 1 Penn State's record-breaking 109-match winning streak came to an end Saturday night with a 3-0 (28-26, 25-12, 25-18) loss to No. 2 Stanford (7-0).
During the streak, which is the longest Division I women's streak in history and second overall only to the Miami men's tennis team's streak of 137 straight matches, the Nittany Lions won an unprecedented three straight NCAA titles. Between Sept. 21, 2007 and Sept. 10, 2010, Penn State lost just 19 sets and won a record breaking 111 straight sets beginning with the final set of the 2007 National Championship match against Stanford and ending in the third set of the 2008 NCAA National Semifinal against Nebraska. In addition, Penn State won an NCAA-best 55 straight road matches and was not out-blocked for 68 consecutive matches.
Seniors Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.), Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.), Florida's Kelly Murphy and Callie Rivers, Stanford's Cassidy Lichtman and Texas' Rachael Adams made up the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic All-Tournament Team. Stanford's Alix Klineman was the MVP.
Brown led the Nittany Lions with 11 kills, while freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) and Wilson tied with five apiece. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) split setting duties with freshman Mikinzie Moydell (Parker, Colo.). The tandem posted 16 and 11 assists, respectively. McClendon led the team with six digs and Wilson had a team-best two blocks.
Stanford held Penn State to .091 hitting, 30 kills, six aces, 30 digs and 3.0 team blocks. Stanford finished the match hitting .389, tallying 47 kills, six aces, 42 digs and 5.0 team blocks.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 7-1 lead to start off the match. Brown had two kills, while McClendon had one as well as back-to-back aces. Stanford recorded two errors early on. The Cardinal fought back to within three, 8-5, but two PSU kills had the Lions ahead by five, 10-5. Penn State's lead grew to seven, 15-8, but a Stanford put down and a PSU error had the Cardinal back within five, 15-10. Kills by Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) and Katie Kabbes (Raleigh, N.C.) moved the gap to seven once again, 17-10, but a 5-0 Cardinal run had the set tied at 15-15. The score was tied twice before a Kabbes kill and a Stanford error gave Penn State a two-point edge, 19-17. However, three straight Stanford points gave the Cardinal its first lead of the set, 20-19. Wilson tied the set at 20-20 with a kill, but Stanford's Cassidy Lichtman answered right back with a kill to put Stanford back up by one, 21-20. After a Nittany Lion timeout, a McClendon kill and an ace from junior Megan Shifflett (Falls Church, Va.) put PSU in the lead, 22-21. Two straight kills from Cardinal Alix Klineman moved Stanford ahead by one and forced Penn State back to the bench. The score tied four more times before Stanford closed out the set with two straight points for a 28-26 win.
Stanford took the early lead in set two, going up 8-3. The Nittany Lions called a timeout and used two Wilson kills and one from Kabbes to come within four, 10-6. Stanford embarked on a 6-0 run for a 10-point lead before Penn State managed another point. The Nittany Lions were unable to steal any momentum as the Cardinal kept rolling. Leading 17-8, Stanford went on a 5-0 run to take a 22-8 lead. A Cardinal service error and a Brown kill cut off the Stanford run, but a Klineman kill and a PSU error put the Cardinal in set-point position. McClendon tallied a kill and Wilson and Moydell teamed up for a block to hold off Stanford momentarily, but Lichtman closed out set two for Stanford with a kill for a 25-12 victory.
The third set started out close with Stanford taking a slim 5-3 lead to start. The Nittany Lions stayed within three until a 3-0 run by Stanford put the Cardinal up, 11-6. Penn State held the Cardinal to a five-point lead for much of the set, but was unable to crack Stanford. As Stanford crept closer to winning set three, Penn State attempted to make a comeback. Brown tallied three kills in the run and the Nittany Lions were aided by four Stanford errors. It proved too little too late, however, and Lichtman closed out the set for Stanford with a kill for the 25-18 win.
Penn State returns to Rec Hall on Friday, Sept. 17 for a 7 p.m. match up with George Washington in the Rockvale Outlets Classic. The Nittany Lions host Princeton (10 a.m.) and St. John's (7 p.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 18.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2010 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets at Hershey.