No. 5 Women¡¯s Volleyball Falls To No. 3 Washington, 3-1
SEATTLE, Wash.; December 9, 2006 ¨C The fifth-ranked Penn State women¡¯s volleyball team dropped a heartbreaking four-game contest (27-30, 24-30, 30-28, 26-30) to third-ranked Washington in the NCAA Regional Final in Seattle, Wash., Saturday night. The Nittany Lions end their season with a 32-3 overall record while the Huskies advance to the NCAA National Semifinals with a 29-4 mark.
¡°I would like to congratulate Washington on a great match and on hosting a great Regional,¡± said head coach Russ Rose. ¡°I was disappointed in the match and how we did some things but I¡¯m not disappointed in the players as people. The players played hard and did what they thought they needed to do to win. You have to give credit to Washington and the crowd is obviously a very valuable thing to have in a Regional Final match.¡±
Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) led all players with 24 kills as freshman Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) tallied 17 kills and sophomore Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) notched 13 kills. Junior Melissa Walbridge (Yardley, Pa.) contributed seven kills on .583 hitting as senior Cassy Salyer (Aurora, Colo.) posted six kills. As a team, Penn State attacked at a .247 clip while Washington hit .284. Freshman setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) directed the offense with 59 assists and added five kills and six digs as sophomore libero Roberta Holehouse (Joppa, Md.) posted a career-high 27 digs. Hodge recorded her 12th career double-double with 15 digs as junior Kate Price (Fraser, Mich.) recorded four and seniors Kris Brown (Wooster, Ohio) and Ashley Fidler (Wauconda, Ill.) posted three and two, respectively.
Penn State outblocked Washington, 15.5 to 11.5, led by Harmotto with six, Walbridge with five and Glass and Fawcett with four, including three solo efforts from Fawcett. Salyer chipped in three blocks as Hodge added two. Fawcett also led the team with three service aces.
Stevie Mussie led Washington with 20 kills as Christal Morrison posted 15, Alesha Deesing tallied 13 and Janine Sandell chipped in 10. Senior setter Courtney Thompson dished out 60 assists and libero Tamari Miyashiro led the team with 18 digs. Jessica Swarbrick topped the team blocking with eight.
Hodge and Fawcett were named to the NCAA Seattle Regional All-Tournament Team and were joined by Ohio State¡¯s Danielle Meyer and Washington¡¯s Swarbrick, Thompson, Miyashiro and Mussie.
Washington jumped out to the quick 10-5 lead to start the match aided by four kills and ace and a block. Two Fawcett kills and a Hodge putaway pulled Penn State to within four at 12-8 but two Husky kills and a block gave them the 15-10 lead going into the media timeout. Out of the break, Harmotto and Glass kills trimmed the Washington lead to two at 15-13 and two Husky errors helped pull Penn State to within one at 16-15. A Washington kill put it up 17-15 but consecutive putaways from Harmotto and Fawcett knotted the game at 17-17. The Huskies responded with two kills to go up 19-17 but the Nittany Lions countered back with consecutive Fawcett kills and a monster block by Salyer and Walbridge to go ahead 20-19. A Washington kill tied the game but a huge solo block from Fawcett put Penn State back on top, 21-20. The Huskies provided a kill and ace to recapture the lead, 22-21, before a Salyer kill and Salyer and Harmotto block gave the Nittany Lions the advantage, 23-22. But two Penn State errors gave Washington the 24-23 lead and forced a Lion timeout. A Hodge kill out of the break knotted the game at 24-24 but Washington produced back to back kills to take the 26-24 lead. The squads exchanged points twice and a Husky kill gave it game point at 29-26. A Fawcett kill pulled Penn State to within two at 29-27 but A Washington kill ended the game, 30-27. Fawcett led the Lions with seven kills as both Hodge and Harmotto each chipped in five.
It was Penn State¡¯s turn for the quick start in the second game as the Lions used two Fawcett aces, two Glass kills and a Walbridge solo block to go ahead 9-2. But Washington slowly chipped away at the lead, with a Penn State error and Husky block trimming the Lion lead to three at 12-9. A Harmotto kill made it 13-9 but Washington used two kills and a block coupled with a Penn State attack error to knot the game at 13-13. A Glass and Walbridge block gave the Lions the 14-13 lead but the Huskies responded with two kills of their own to go ahead 15-14. The squads traded kills and a Hodge kill and Holehouse ace gave Penn State the 17-16 advantage. A Washington kill knotted the score at 17-17 and two ties ensued before a Washington kill and Penn State attack error put the Huskies ahead 21-19. Three consecutive Fawcett kill swung the momentum in the way of the Nittany Lions but two more Washington kills sparked a 7-0 Husky run to put them ahead 28-22. A Fawcett kill halted the run but it was too little too late as a Washington block and Nittany Lion service error ended the game, 30-24.
Game three remained close throughout, with a Holehouse dig kill putting Penn State ahead 10-7. A Harmotto kill and Glass and Harmotto block gave the Lions the 12-8 advantage. But two Washington kills and an ace brought it within one at 13-12 before a Husky service error and a solo Fawcett block gave the Lions the 15-12 lead. The squads exchanged points before three consecutive Washington kills tied the game at 16-16. Two ties ensued and a Salyer kill and a block from Hodge and Harmotto gave Penn State the 20-18 lead. But a Husky kill and consecutive Lion attack errors reversed the momentum to put Washington ahead 21-20. A Glass kill evened the score at 21-21 and the teams traded points three times with a Fawcett ace giving Penn State the 25-24 lead. A Washington kill after a timeout again knotted the game at 25-25 and the squads exchanged points before a Harmotto kill and a block from Harmotto and Glass put Penn State up 28-26. A Nittany Lion service error made it 28-27 and a Harmotto kill was followed by a Washington kill to make the score 29-28. Following a Penn State timeout, a Fawcett kill off the block sailed wide to give the Nittany Lions the game, 30-28.
Game four started where the third game left off, with both teams evenly matched. A triple block from Fawcett, Harmotto and Glass tied the game at 6-6 and four ties ensued before three Washington blocks aided the Huskies in taking the 15-11 lead heading into the media timeout. Out of the break, a Harmotto kill pulled the Lions to within three at 15-12 and the teams traded points twice before a Husky overpass kill put them up 18-13 and forced a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, kills from Walbridge and Fawcett coupled with a Washington attack error pulled the Lions within two at 18-16 to force a Washington timeout. Two Husky kills out of the break gave them the four-point advantage at 20-16 and the teams traded points before Lion kills from Salyer and Harmotto and a Washington attack error pulled Penn State to within one at 21-20. But following a Husky yellow card for disputing a call, Washington scored six of the next eight points to go ahead 27-22. The teams traded points and back to back Fawcett kills pulled the Nittany Lions to within three at 28-25. The teams again traded points before a Penn State service error ended the game, 30-26.
For more information on the Penn State women¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.