After last year’s nail biting, five-set championship match between Texas and Penn State, this year’s semifinal match was a bit of a let down, with Penn State taking the match in straight sets.
After jumping out to a 10-1 lead in the first set Penn State didn’t give Texas much of a chance to get back in (possibly they learned their lesson after losing the first two sets during last year’s championship match). The third set was close, 25-22, but Texas only had the lead a few times.
This marks Penn State’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA finals, and their seventh overall. Of last night’s 45 kills 24 were contributed by freshman players, so we may need to just get used to seeing the Nittany Lions in the finals for a while longer.
After falling to USC twice during the regular season the Cal State Bears got their revenge yesterday by beating Southern California soundly in just three sets.
Like many of the losses in this tournament, hitting made a huge difference in Cal’s win. They shut down USC’s outside hitters, including freshman standout Falyn Fonoimoana (6’4″), while keeping their own hitting percentage nice and high.
The Golden Bears will be coming into Saturday’s championship match with a bit of a chip on their shoulders, as the Nittany Lions have knocked them out of the NCAA Championship bracket for the past three years in a row. Hopefully this won’t be the fourth!
Check out the championship on Saturday, December 18 at 8pm ET. It will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.