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Dec. 16, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With a dominating 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-22) victory against Texas (27-6) the three-time defending national champion Penn State women's volleyball team earned a spot in the 2010 NCAA National Championship on Saturday, Dec. 18. Penn State is making its four straight appearance in the final.
Three Nittany Lions posted double-digit kills, including 12 by senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.). Freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) was second on the team with 11 on a career-high and match-high .733 attack percentge. Freshman Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) was third on the team with 10. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 38 assists and had nine digs and two blocks. Senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) led the Nittany Lions with a match-high 11 digs, while Brown was second on the team with 10. Freshman Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) was a wall at the net with six total blocks. Senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.), McClendon and Scott contributed three blocks apiece.
Penn State (31-5) hit .365 against the Longhorns and totaled 45 kills, eight aces, 50 digs and 9.5 total team blocks. Texas was held to .131 hitting and had 31 kills, one ace, 47 digs and 3.0 team blocks.
Penn State leapt out to a 4-0 lead to start the match and sent Texas to the bench for a timeout. Brown had two kills to start and McClendon contributed one. After the timeout, Penn State's lead grew to 6-0 with a block by Slay and McClendon and a UT attack error. A PSU attack error put the Longhorns on the board, but a kill from Slay, two from Scott and a McClendon ace had Penn State with a commanding 10-1 advantage. Texas went on a 3-0 run, but Penn State answered with a 5-1 run to put its lead into double-digit, 15-5. The teams traded points with the Nittany Lions maintaining at least a nine-point lead. With a 20-10 lead, a Brown ace moved Penn State ahead by 11, 21-10. A Carpenter kill and a Longhorn attack error kept Penn State ahead by 11, 23-12, but a PSU service error made it 23-13. Wilson pounded a kill and Carpenter joined forces with Slay for a block to close out set one, 25-13.
The Nittany Lions took a 4-1 lead to start the second frame with Scott tallying a kill and a block. Juliann Faucette put down a kill for Texas, but a Brown kill and D'Errico ace made it 6-2 in favor of PSU. Texas embarked on a 5-1 run to tie the set at 7-7, but a 3-0 PSU run had the Nittany Lions back in the lead, 10-7. Texas' Amber Roberson cut off the run with a kill, but a Wilson kill and a joint stuff by McClendon and Slay had Penn State leading by four, 12-8. An ace from freshman Maddie Martin (Tampa, Fla.) pushed Penn State ahead by five, 13-8, but a PSU error and a Faucette kill cut the gap to three, 13-10. The Lions managed a 4-0 run to take a 17-10 lead and force Texas to take a timeout. The Longhorns managed just three more points before PSU closed out the second stanza with a score of 25-13. After a kill from Wilson, Brown won the set with an ace.
The third set was close from the start with neither team developing any momentum to take a substantial lead. With a one-point edge, A huge block by Slay and Brown put Penn State up by two, 11-9. A 3-0 UT run put the Longhorns back in the lead, 12-11, but a Brown kill had the score knotted at 12-12. The score tied once more before a 4-0 run gave Penn State a comfortable 17-13 advantage and sent Texas to the bench. Texas followed the break with a kill, but an error kept Penn State up by four, 18-14. Two Penn State kills, one each by Wilson and McClendon, had Penn State five points from taking set three, 20-15. Two consecutive points put the Longhorns within three, 20-17, but a Texas service error and a McClendon putdown kept Penn State up by four, 22-18. Both teams tallied a point before back-to-back Texas kills had UT within two, 23-21. Penn State called a timeout and Brown followed it with a kill to put PSU in match-point position. Despite a kill by Texas, Scott closed out the set for the Nittany Lions with a kill for a 25-22 win.
Penn State will meet the winner of the USC/California match on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The match will air live on ESPN2.
Live stats will be available at GoPSUsports.com and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can listen to the match with Dean DeVore, Craig Dyer and Jay Hosack on WRSC-FM 103.1 in State College and surrounding areas and around the world for free on GoPSUsports.com. Airtime Saturday night is 8:00 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to send comments and questions during the broadcast to Dean, Craig and Jay via Twitter by following @PSUVolleyball.
Twenty-four of Penn State's 45 kills were contributed by freshmen, including McClendon, Scott and Slay.
Texas entered the match hitting .311 for the season. Penn State held the Longhorns to just .131 hitting.
Penn State is making its fourth straight and seventh overall appearance in the National Championship match. The Nittany Lions also advanced in 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
McClendon hit a personal-best .733 against Texas. She had 11 kills on 15 errorless attempts.
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.