No. 2 Volleyball falls to No. 1 Penn State, 3-2
Dec. 19, 2009
TAMPA, Fla. -- No. 1 Penn State rallied for a 3-2 victory (22-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-13) over No. 2 Texas to win the NCAA Championship Saturday evening at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Texas ends the season at 29-2, while the Nittany Lions finish the season at 38-0, win their third consecutive NCAA championship and keep their winning streak intact at 102 matches.
Texas took the first two sets before Penn State rallied to take the next two and force a decisive fifth set. Trailing 14-12 in the fifth set, Texas saved a match point with a kill from senior Ashley Engle, but the Nittany Lions converted the next point with a kill from Megan Hodge, the AVCA National Player of the Year, to clinch the victory and secure the NCAA title by the slimmest of margins.
Senior Destinee Hooker registered a career-high 34 kills and was selected as the NCAA Championship's Most Outstanding Player. Engle and junior Juliann Faucette were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
A Hooker service ace gave Texas a 4-2 lead in the opening set before Penn State ran off four straight points to go up, 6-4. At seven-all, UT took three straight behind Rachael Adams' two blocks and a kill. Penn State regrouped to take the next four points and assumed a short-lived 11-10 lead. Texas took the next three points with a pair of Faucette kills and an errant Megan Hodge attack.
At 15-all, UT went on another 3-0 run behind kills from Engle and Amber Roberson and another Hooker ace. But, Penn State claimed five of the next six points to take a 20-19 Texas lead and force a Longhorns timeout. A tap from PSU's Alisha Glass and a double block gave the Nittany Lions a 22-19 lead and forced another Texas timeout. However, on Engle's serve, Texas finished off the set with a 6-0 run.
UT responded with kills from Engle and Hooker to cut the deficit to 22-21 and force a PSU timeout. Out of the break, Engle fired a timely service ace, and Adams and Roberson teamed up with for a block to give Texas a 23-22 lead and force another Penn State timeout. Back-to-back kills from Hooker gave Texas the first set, 25-22.
After hitting a paltry .182 while winning the first set, Texas hit a staggering .500, with 11 kills from Hooker, en route to victory in set two. Tied at four in set two, Texas ran off four straight on an Alyssa D'Errico service error, an errant PSU attack, a double block from Adams and Roberson and a Jennifer Doris service ace, as UT took an 8-4 lead and Penn State called for time. With Texas leading 10-8, Hooker's right arm delivered seven of the next eight point to give UT a 19-9 lead.
Leading 23-15, PSU cut into the lead with kills from Hodge and Fatima Balza and a block from Balza and Blair Brown, as UT called for time with a 23-18 lead. PSU's Hodge and Balza added another block, but a Hooker kill set up set point for Texas at 24-19. A UT double contact made it 24-20, but a kill from Doris finished off the set for Texas, 25-20.
Penn State took control early on in set three, and with a 4-3 lead, PSU took four of the next five points to stretch its lead to 8-4 and force a Texas timeout. The Longhorns cut their deficit to 12-10, but the Nittany Lions picked up four of the next five points to take a 16-11 lead and force another Texas timeout.
PSU stretched its lead to 18-11 before Texas clawed its way back. Trailing 20-14, UT took advantage of kills from Hooker and Roberson and a Penn State double contact, as it cut the deficit to 20-17 and forced a Nittany Lions timeout. Penn State claimed the next two points out of the break before Texas collected a Faucette kill and two errant PSU attacks to cut the Nittany Lions' lead to 22-20.
Kills from PSU's Hodge and Brown gave Penn State four set points, but an Adams kill and a Hodge swing that sailed wide cut the PSU lead to 24-22. A Hooker block cut the PSU lead to one, but Hodge put away a kill on the ensuing point to give Penn State the set, 25-23.
Tied at three in set four, PSU picked up a Hodge kill and took advantage of two Texas miscues to take a 6-3 lead and force a Texas timeout. Trailing 10-5, Texas made its move behind superior defense from Heather Kisner and Sydney Yogi before tying the set 11 when an attack from PSU's Dorton struck the antenna. PSU took a 17-15 lead behind an errant Roberson attack and a Hodge kill, which forced a Texas timeout.
Texas tied the set at 17 but was unable to regain the lead in set four. An errant PSU attack cut the Nittany Lions' lead slim lead to 22-21, but the Penn State claimed the final three points in the set to force the decisive fifth set.
UT took a 3-1 lead in the fifth set before Penn State took the next two points to pull even. The two teams traded points until UT assumed a 7-5 lead with a double block from Faucette and Adams. Penn State added a kill from Hodge and a double block to tie the set at seven. From there, Penn State and Texas traded points until 11-all, when Hodge put away a kill to give PSU a 12-11 lead.
A Brown service error evened the set at 12, but a Dorton kill and a Hooker swing ran long to set up the match points for Penn State.
-- This was the third time that Texas has appeared in the NCAA championship match. They were 1-1 in their previous two trips to the title match.