Posts tagged ‘Deja McClendon’

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 20, 2013

Deja McClendon gets a kill in this photo by Bettina Hansen of The Seattle Times.

Deja McClendon gets a kill in this photo by Bettina Hansen of The Seattle Times.

Playing for a … six-peat? The women’s volleyball team pounded Washington—and I mean pounded Washington, which was basically playing a home game—late Thursday night,  25-14, 25-13, 25-16, in the NCAA semifinals. The Nittany Lions will play conference foe Wisconsin (which upset top-ranked Texas) for the NCAA title at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The Nittany Lions have won five national titles, their last when current star seniors Deja McClendon, Ariel Scott, and Katie Slay were freshmen. Safe to say, those ladies want to go out as they came in—as NCAA champs. In this Centre Daily Times story, McClendon said, “This is the fire I think that you need to win it all.” Play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins called Penn State’s performance “one of the most dominant we’ve seen in the NCAA semifinals.” But Coach Russ Rose, named national coach of the year for the fifth time before the game, was, as usual, a little more laid-back: “I believe the seniors have a pretty good handle on what we need to do. We’ll see if we can do it one more time.”

And a big wrestling match, too: It’s a good thing my in-laws are awesome and my husband is a sports writer, because otherwise I’d be in trouble Saturday night, when I need to watch not only the NCAA volleyball title match, but the wrestling team, which will  be competing at Iowa at 9 p.m. on Big Ten Network.  If you remember, the match was “scheduled on Twitter” after the Big Ten schedule didn’t have these two powerhouses wrestling a dual. (Iowa coach Tom Brands has tweeted once since the early September scheduling flurry, and that tweet was two words: Tony Ramos.) Iowa would like to regain the NCAA dual attendance record, but even if it doesn’t, it’ll be a raucous Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Get ready with this match preview from Jim Carlson for

Semester’s end: Graduation is Saturday—5,133 people will be receiving degrees, including one student who will travel about 6,000 miles to receive her degree—Hiroko Tanako of Japan, who has earned a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction, children’s literature, from World Campus. Tanako said: “I have watched American university graduations on television. I would like to experience commencement with the cap and gown. It will be my first time wearing it.”

Happy Holidays: The university will close for the holidays at the end of business today. We’ll be back publishing The Daily on Jan. 2, 2014.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

December 20, 2013 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 6, 2013

Road to Seattle: Senior women’s volleyball players Deja McClendon, Katie Slay, and Ariel Scott began their Penn State careers with a national title—they were freshmen when the Nittany Lions won the last of their four consecutive national titles in 2010. They’re hoping to end their careers in the same way. The Nittany Lions open NCAA tournament play in Rec Hall at 7:30 p.m. tonight against LIU-Brooklyn. The winner of that game will face Yale or Utah, which play tonight at 5, on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are seeded No. 2 overall, and they’re a blast to watch.

Aaron Maybin linked this Intagram photo of his Art Basel exhibit on his Twitter account, @AaronMMaybin.

Aaron Maybin linked this Intagram photo of his Art Basel exhibit on his Twitter account, @AaronMMaybin.

Art and football: What is it with Penn State football players and the art world? Former defensive end Matthew Rice is making a name for himself as a mural painter, and now here’s former defensive end Aaron Maybin, whose NFL career never really took off after he left Penn State early in 2009 with an exhibition at Art Basel, a big-deal festival in Miami that’s going on right now. In this video, Maybin discusses the relationship between football and art, saying he gets the “same joy” creating art as he gets from athletic competition, that he believes an artist is “the truest version of a storyteller that still exists,” and that he’s ready to paint when “I’m tormented by an idea.” There’s some adult language, but it’s an interesting conversation. And you can check out some of his work here.

Yoga with Doug: I love that Onward State decided to write about Doug Hayward, teacher of the only Penn State fitness class that has a name attached to it—yes, Yoga With Doug, which is not to be confused with any other yoga classes around here. I was lucky enough to take an on-campus class from Doug a couple of summers ago, and it is truly an experience. I spent half the time in awe of the way he contorted his body (and he didn’t need a mat!) and the other half learning that my body was capable of way more than I’d realized. If you’re in town, you can always check out the offerings at his State College studio, too.

Big stage: One of the cool things about covering Penn State’s wrestling team is the atmosphere in sold-out Rec Hall, which is always packed with fans who know the sport and who can be loud when the occasion calls for it. We’ll see this weekend what that fan base can do in a larger arena—the Bryce Jordan Center, which is sold out for Sunday’s match against Pitt. That’s 15,000 wrestling fans. This also gives me the chance to quote the most entertaining two paragraphs I’ve read this week, from the last item in the weekly notebook by Centre Daily Times wrestling writer Travis Johnson ’09:

“The plan is to have our guys running out like they do at the nationals and just kind of having fun with it,” Sanderson said. “There’s been talk of fireworks and cannons and those kind of things. I’ve kind of lost track of what they’re doing. We talked about it a couple of months ago. I think that’s the plan.”

A Penn State spokesman said pyrotechnics would not likely be used.

Bummer, huh?

The wrestling team is warming up for that spotlight match in an awesome way—competing tonight at Boston University, which is dropping its team at the end of this season. When Sanderson, who’s been an ambassador and advocate for the sport asked the BU coach if there were anything to he could do to help, the coach asked if Penn State could come up and wrestle them. So Penn State is, and it’s hoping the attention will help to save the program.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

December 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

More Adventures in Volleyball Photography


I went to Rec Hall on Saturday night to see the women’s volleyball team play top-ranked Nebraska—and to try my hand at photographing the match.

Last year I did a little shooting during an NCAA regional match in Rec Hall and wrote about how hard it is to shoot volleyball. It doesn’t appear to have gotten any easier since then.

I do have a better camera now than I did last December (a Nikon D7000 vs. my previous D90)—it shoots at a slightly faster “burst rate” and it does a better job at high ISOs like 2500 or 3200, which makes for faster shutter speeds and thus lets you freeze the action a bit better.

But it’s still a challenge—you have to anticipate where the action is going to be, and you have to take a lot of shots in hopes of getting a small handful of keepers. I can’t tell you how many bad shots I took, and how many different ways they’re bad: out of focus, a few seconds too late for the decisive hit, the ball is nowhere to be found in the frame, the players are caught in an awkward posture….

As just one example of “players are caught in an awkward posture,” here’s a charming scene of three Penn State players apparently engaged in some sort of new dance—or possibly a cult ritual?—during the match:

You really should click on it to see it bigger, to get the full effect of how bad it is. And I have dozens more where that came from.

Deja_McClendonI did get one or two good shots at the net; shockingly, most of them feature Deja McClendon, a ferocious hitter and last year’s national freshman of the year. She’s in the photo at the top of this page, and she’s also the one over there on the right. She finished the night with 18 kills, more than any other player on the court.

But trying to get good action shots was getting stressful, and I had had enough stress watching that danged football game with Illinois. So I turned my camera to some of the other stuff going during the match.

Luckily, it was the weekend before Halloween, so some of the students came in costume. So I thought I’d show you a little sampling of who was in attendance.

First, we had one of the Teletubbies, and his buddy, Uncle Sam:


We also had a weird assortment that included Gumby, Pokey, Captain America, and some vaguely Middle Eastern guy with a shepherd’s crook:

The innocent-looking Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man:

And two of my favorites, Mario and Luigi:

There was one other guy I thought you needed to see. He’s the guy in the photo at the right, and I don’t think this is a Halloween costume for him—I think this is regular attire for him at volleyball games. He’s a Nebraska fan who showed up at the game in a corn-cob hat.

(Here again, click on the photo to get the full effect.)

I did not realize that when we let Nebraska into the Big Ten, they would be bringing corn-cob hats with them. But there you are.

You can see more photos from Saturday night’s match on our Facebook page.

Oh, and the outcome of the match? The Nittany Lions upset Nebraska, three sets to one. Nice.

Tina Hay, editor

October 31, 2011 at 8:53 am 1 comment

Penn State Women’s Volleyball: Best Show in Town?

In this photo by Steve Manuel, shooting for Penn State Athletic Communications, you can see how tough it was to find a seat Saturday night in Rec Hall.

To put it mildly, the Penn State women’s volleyball team was in a tough spot Saturday night.

The four-time defending NCAA champions entered the season with the top ranking again, and then they lost to Oregon on Friday night at the AVCA Showcase at Rec Hall, snapping an NCAA record 94-game home match winning streak.

And there they were the next night, down 0-2 to No. 2 USC.

The spectacular crowd—6,165 strong, including Graham Spanier, a chunk of the men’s basketball team, two guys wearing matching blue and white mouse heads, respectively, and a baby girl in the balcony that my mom would have described as “just hatched”—was beginning to file out.

Then things got fun. (more…)

August 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm 1 comment

Women’s Volleyball in Title Game Again

Freshman Katie Slay had six blocks against Texas.

Three consecutive NCAA women’s volleyball titles was unprecedented. And now Penn State is on the verge of its fourth in a row.

The Nittany Lions dominated Texas last night in a three-set sweep, and they’re playing Cal for the national title on Saturday night.

And this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. How did the Nittany Lions find themselves near the top again? There’s plenty of credit to go around:

Setter Kristin Carpenter, who explained her terrific serving performance by quipping that she “ate her Wheaties.” The Nittany Lions’ All-American seniors, Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson. A fantastic freshman class, led by National Freshman of the Year Deja McClendon. And of course coach Russ Rose, who has my Facebook friends debating whether he’s the best coach in Penn State history.

Women’s volleyball, regrettably, doesn’t get a lot of national coverage. You can learn all you need to know here and here from the Collegian’s beat reporters, who are still, unbelievably, cranking out copy during finals week. (They also provide in-match updates at Collegian_WVB.) For a national perspective, you can’t get better than Mechelle Voepel from, who checked in with this story.

Tune in to ESPN2 at 8:30 Saturday night to watch the final.

Lori Shontz, senior editor


December 17, 2010 at 9:50 am Leave a comment

Adventures in Sports Photography, Women’s Volleyball Edition


A friend and I went to Rec Hall last night to watch the Penn State women’s volleyball team beat Duke to win the NCAA regional tournament and advance to the national semifinals.

It was great, of course, to be part of the noisy and enthusiastic home crowd, and to see players like Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson for the last time in Rec Hall. But I also decided to bring my camera along and try my hand at photographing volleyball. And oh boy, was it challenging.

I’ll spare you the details of spending the first 10 or 15 minutes messing around with white balance (fluorescent turned out to be best), aperture (f5.6 or so), and ISO (I cranked it to 2500 at times). At one point I went over to talk to Mark Selders, who shoots for the athletic department—and who, I might add, has a much better camera and waaaaaaaay longer lenses than I do. He gave me a few tips: For example, when the ball is served, (more…)

December 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm 6 comments

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