November 29, 2010

Nittany Digs: 2010 Big Ten Champs, National No. 4 Seed

Penn State will get home-court advantage
through most of the NCAA tournament.
(Photo: Steve Manuel)
Penn State locked up the 2010 Big Ten Women's Volleyball championship by sweeping the Iowa Hawkeyes Friday night. But just as one would expect in this very odd season for the Lions, they turned right around and lost to No. 15 Minnesota yesterday afternoon. It's not like a Russ Rose-coached team to look ahead, but it definitely felt like this team is keeping both eyes focused squarely on the tournament.

Speaking of which, Penn State also grabbed itself a very nice No. 4 seed in the national tournament. Penn State will be able to enjoy home-court advantage through the regional round, as the first three rounds will take place in the friendly confines of Rec Hall.

Details below the break.

NCAA Tournament Info:
The Nittany Lions host MAAC Champion Niagara (25-8) on Friday, Dec. 3 at Rec Hall in the first round on the tournament. Virginia Tech (19-11) of the ACC, who earned its first ever NCAA Tournament bid, will take on CAA Champion Delaware (26-5) at 5 p.m. in the other first round match. The winners of each of the matches will meet in the NCAA Second Round contest at 7:30 p.m. in Rec Hall on Saturday, Dec. 4.

The winner of the Penn State first and second round NCAA site will advance to the University Park Regional on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11 at Rec Hall. The Penn State site winner will play the winner from Norman, Okla., which features No. 13 seed LSU (25-4), Tulsa (30-2), Wichita State (21-7) and Oklahoma (21-20). The other Regional Semifinal match will feature the Cedar Falls, Iowa (No. 5 seed Northern Iowa, Missouri, Arizona and Northwestern) site winner and the Durham, N.C. (Ohio, Penn, High Point and No. 12 seed Duke) site winner.

The winners from each of the four Regional sites (University Park, Pa., Seattle, Wash., Austin, Texas and Dayton, Ohio) advance to the NCAA National Semifinal, which will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. with the National Championship match set for Saturday, Dec. 18.
No. 7 Penn State vs Iowa - W, 3-0 (25-18-25-13, 25-20)
Three Nittany Lions posted double-digit kills with senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) leading the way with 17. Freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) was second on the team with 13 and senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) tallied 10. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) dished out 42 assists and was third on the team with 11 digs. Senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) led the team with 18 digs, while Brown had 13 and senior Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) had 12.

Penn State attacked at a .364 clip and held the Hawkeyes to .149. The Nittany Lions totaled 53 kills, three aces, 66 digs and 2.0 team blocks. Iowa posted 31 kills, three aces, 56 digs and 2.0 team blocks.

No. 7 Penn State vs No. 15 Minnesota - W, 3-2 (25-14, 25-21, 24-26, 23-25, 21-23)
Senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.) led the Nittany Lions with a career-high 24 kills and also had 13 digs and three blocks. Freshman Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) posted a personal-best 21 kills, while freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) had 15 and senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) registered 12. Sophomore setter Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) had a career-high 70 assists and 15 digs. Senior libero Alyssa D'Errico (Byron, N.Y.) had a match-high and career-best 35 digs. Freshman Ali Longo (Littleton, Colo.) was second on the team with a personal-best 16 digs and senior Cathy Quilico (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was fifth on the team with 11 digs. Senior Fatima Balza (Merida, Venezuela) led Penn State with eight total blocks, while McClendon was second on the squad with five.

Penn State registered a .278 attack percentage, while the Gophers (24-8, 14-6 Big Ten) hit .217. Penn State totaled 81 kills, five aces, 102 digs and 12.0 total team blocks. Minnesota finished the match with 73 kills. Six aces, 90 digs and 12.0 team blocks.
In the Polls

Polls will be released later today.

What's Next?

The NCAA Tournament.

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