Penn State Defeats Washington in Semifinals

Dec. 19, 2013, 11:58 p.m. (ET)

SEATTLE (Dec. 19, 2013) – Penn State University (33-2) will go for its sixth NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship title after defeating local favorites University of Washington 25-14, 25-13, 25-16 Thursday evening in Seattle’s KeyArena.

No. 2 Penn State will face No. 12 seed University of Wisconsin in the first-ever all-Big Ten title match on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. PT. The match will air live on ESPN2. Wisconsin shocked defending champion and No. 1 University of Texas 25-19, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23 in the opening semifinal. Washington, seeded No. 3 in the tournament, ends its season at 30-3.

Penn State has reached the national championship for the ninth time with titles coming in 1999, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The Nittany Lions are 9-2 all-time in national semifinal matches.

Penn State setter Micha Hancock set the Nittany Lions to a .488 team hitting efficiency (46-5-84) with only five attack errors. She added five kills, three aces and six digs. Deja McClendon led her team with 11 kills, three blocks and 13 digs. Ariel Scott hit .556 with 10 kills without an attack error on 18 attacks and two blocks. Katie Slay totaled eight kills on 11 attacks with a .727 hitting efficiency to go with four blocks. Nia Grant and Megan Courtney contributed six kills each, while Grant produced four blocks and Courtney had nine digs and two digs. Dominque Gonzalez recorded 13 digs in the victory.

Kaleigh Nelson tallied eight kills and a block for Washington, while Krista Vansant chipped in seven kills and nine digs. Kylin Munoz charted five kills.

Penn State, which had an average three-inch height advantage over Washington, out-blocked the Huskies 8-3. The Nittany Lions held Washington to a .117 hitting efficiency (28-17-94). Penn State also controlled the service game with a 5-1 margin in aces as well as a 45-29 dig advantage.

Penn State now has won 22 matches this season in straight sets. The Nittany Lions have now won 24 matches in a row.

Penn State took charge in the opening set with a 10-1 run establishing a 21-12 advantage. The Nittany Lions capped the set with a Grant solo block for a 25-14 victory. Penn State hit .478 as a team with 12 kills and just one error while its defense limited Washington to a .152 hitting efficiency with seven attack errors.

The Nittany Lions controlled the second set, bolting to a 20-8 lead. Penn State finished the set with a 25-13 victory using a .583 hitting efficiency to its advantage.

Leading 5-4 in the third set, Penn State put it into overdrive with an 8-2 run taking a 13-6 margin into Washington’s second timeout. The Nittany Lions capped the set and match at 25-16 with a Slay kill. Penn State hit .432 for the set.