Posts tagged ‘women’s volleyball’
The busiest Penn State sports weekend of the semester was a bit of a letdown. There was some good news: the Nittany and Lady Lion basketball teams and sixth-ranked wrestling team opened their seasons with wins, and the No. 8 women’s volleyball team extended its Rec Hall unbeaten streak to 88 matches with sweeps of Wisconsin and No. 9 Illinois.
That was the good news.
There was disappointment but no shame as the field hockey and women’s soccer teams both fell to higher-ranked opponents in NCAA tournament play. The men’s soccer team, meanwhile, hosted the Big Ten tournament at Jeffrey Field, beating Northwestern in the opener and upsetting top-seeded Indiana in the semis to set up a meeting with Michigan in the final. We were blessed with unbelievable weather this weekend, so I took in both Friday’s semifinal and Sunday’s final.
I also took our camera; credit for whatever half-decent shots I got goes largely to our Nikon D40. Here’s one from Friday afternoon’s semifinal against IU. That’s Penn State midfielder Drew Cost (8) lining up a long-range shot. (Click to enlarge)
Jeffrey Field is one of my favorite places on campus to be in the fall. The sunsets up there can be gorgeous, and they made for some great shadows and color on the field. It’s also a nice backdrop for a fan looking contemplative over his vuvuzela.
Penn State lost the title game to Michigan, 4-1, a score that didn’t reflect how well Penn State played — the Nittany Lions actually outshot the Wolverines 23-16 on the day. Here’s one of those shots, a first-half attempt by freshman forward Jordan Tyler.
The Nittany Lions’ only goal came late in the first half, when Cost received a pass on the edge of the Michigan box, made a quick move to his right and shot low toward the far corner…
The keeper never had a chance.
The final score was a bummer, but at least the kids had a good time: That’s my son and my buddy Dave’s two boys clowning around at halftime.
Figured I’d end it with some cuteness.
The soccer team awaits confirmation of an NCAA at-large bid, to be announced Monday afternoon.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Alumni Council members got to see that second side of Rose on Friday afternoon, when he made a special guest appearance at their meeting. Sometimes Rose’s humor can be dry and deadpan, but he was laugh-out-loud funny standing at the podium in Robb Hall. The guy has the expert timing of a first-rate stand-up comic, and I can’t reproduce that here. But I hope you can still tell from these highlights that he did bring his A game:
We just wrapped up the first sports weekend of the fall semester, and in Happy Valley at least, the weather cooperated — it was beautiful up here. Results, on the field and the court, were mixed.
Down in Chapel Hill, N.C., the women’s volleyball team extended its NCAA-record win streak to 105 matches by going 3-0 at the Carolina Classic. The field hockey team, ranked 18th to start the season, opened with a 4-0 thrashing of No. 16 ODU before falling 3-0 to No. 3 Virginia. The No. 12 women’s soccer team started the season with a 1-1 draw against No. 15 Virginia before falling 2-1 to William & Mary.
Oh, and football? With the season opener just five days away, the preseason depth chart is out, but the quarterback position is still wide open. Obviously, it’s rare to be this close to the opening game and not know who’ll be under center, but as Mike Poorman ’82 points out, the fact that it could be a true freshman makes it that much more intriguing. I guess we’ll know soon enough.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
The three-time defending NCAA champion women’s volleyball team opens the season Friday at the Carolina Classic, facing host North Carolina at 8 p.m. Penn State is ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls — understandable given the team’s 103-match winning streak — but coach Russ Rose is skeptical. In an article Thursday in USA Today, the longtime Nittany Lion coach says his team is too unproven — having lost a couple of first-team All-Americans and boasting a roster with nine true freshman — to justify such a ranking. Of course, a couple of his returning players (and most of those incoming freshmen) were college or prep All-Americans last season, so maybe those poll voters know what they’re doing.
As for the tournament, Rose’s players should feel right at home in the opposing gym: The Triangle Chapter of the Alumni Association is inviting all Penn Staters in the area to meet up for a Friday afternoon happy hour before heading over to the game. If you’re within shouting distance of Chapel Hill, you’ve now got plans for Friday night.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
We knew that Megan Hodge was the best player on the best volleyball team in the nation last season — and maybe the last three seasons, all of which ended with Penn State national championships. Hodge ’10 won’t be around next year to extend the Nittany Lions’ streak of 102 straight victories, but her daunting legacy — she was a four-time first-team All-American — will be remembered for a long time. That’s all the more true after Hodge was named co-winner of the 2010 Honda-Broderick Cup, given annually to the collegiate woman athlete of the year. Hodge shares the award with UConn junior Maya Moore, start of the Huskies basketball team that has won 78 straight games and the last two NCAA championships.
There’s some good scene in this SI.com story about Hodge and Moore – arguably the most dominant individuals on the two most dominant college teams of their generation — chatting on the bus ride to Monday’s ceremony in Los Angeles, before they knew they’d be sharing the award. Afterward, Hodge said, “It kind of threw me for a loop when he said both of our names. It was definitely like a ‘Wow’ moment and unexpected, but still very exciting. It’s a very meaningful award.”
Hodge is the first Penn State student-athlete to win the Honda-Broderick award.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
One of the highlights of the Pittsburgh social scene is the annual Dapper Dan Dinner, which raises money for youth sports leagues through a dinner honoring Western Pennsylvania’s top sports figures. Among this year’s nominees for Sportswomen of the Year: the Penn State women’s volleyball team, which won its third consecutive NCAA championship in December.
The winner is chosen by a vote, so you can do your part by clicking here.
I’ve got a personal attachment to this. Dapper Dan is the charity arm of my hometown Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where I worked from 1994-2003, and while I always thought the event was great, it bugged me that the evening’s big award was Sportsman of the year. I felt like outstanding women athletes didn’t have much of a chance, and, well, I made a bit of a stink about it.
One year, I wrote a column suggesting that the committee had goofed in not choosing Suzie McConnell-Serio ’88, who had led the Cleveland Rockers on a run in the WNBA playoffs, as the winner. (I hope in making the case, I wasn’t too harsh on the winner: Joe Paterno.) One thing led to another, and since 1999, Dapper Dan has honored both a Sportsman and a Sportswoman of the Year. That’s a pretty small legacy, sure, but it’s one I’m proud of.
Here’s the volleyball team’s competition: Meghan Klingenberg, a Pittsburgh native who played for the 2009 NCAA women’s soccer champions; Pitt associate athletic director Carol Sprague, who has presided over the rise of the school’s women’s basketball team; and McConnell-Serio, now coach of the rapidly improving Duquesne women’s basketball team.
That’s an impressive list, but I don’t see anyone else with three consecutive NCAA titles.
Vote soon! Voting ends Jan. 25.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Mike Carlson, shooting for the Associated Press, got this image last night of the Penn State women’s volleyball team celebrating its third straight national championship.
It was an amazing come-from-behind win: The top-ranked Nittany Lions lost the first two sets of their match with second-ranked Texas and were on the brink of seeing their 101-match unbeaten streak—not to mention their dreams of a threepeat—come to a sudden end. But they came back to win the next two sets to even the match, then won a dramatic, back-and-forth fifth set for the title.
ESPN.com has some stories and a good video recap. Be sure to check out the fan in the video who’s standing behind Karch Kiraly and Beth Mowins, wearing a Joe Paterno mask and holding up three fingers to celebrate the threepeat. (I have no idea who he is, but I like his enthusiasm.)
But my favorite part of the video is at the very end, when Megan Hodge slams home the championship point and the players on the sideline rush the court and slide into the pile. If anyone knows of a video clip that shows more of that, let me know—I could watch that moment 50 times and not get tired of it.
Tina Hay, editor