Scenes from AVCA Convention, NCAA Championship

Dec. 18, 2013, 8:33 p.m. (ET)

Saturday, Dec. 21 * 9:05 p.m.
Penn State captured its sixth NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship and fifth in the last seven years after defeating Wisconsin 25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23 on Saturday evening in KeyArena in Seattle. Penn State, seeded second in the tournament, concluded the year with a 35-3 record while No. 12 Wisconsin had its Cinderella postseason run stopped one match shy of its first title. The Badgers ended the year with a 28-10 record, which includes three losses to Penn State. The match represented the first-ever all-Big Ten title match. Penn State was led by Ariel Scott with 21 kills, while Katie Slay chipped in 14 kills with a .481 hitting efficiency to go with two block solos and a block assist. Tournament most outstanding player Micha Hancock tallied 48 assists, five kills, three aces, 16 digs and two block assists. Megan Courtney chipped in five kills and a team-tying-high 20 digs. Nia Grant added four kills and four block assists. Dominique Gonzalez chipped in 20 digs and three aces for the Nittany Lions. Full Story

Saturday, Dec. 21 * 8:25 p.m.
Wisconsin kept alive its championship hopes by defeating Penn State 25-20 in the third set of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. Deme Morales had four kills in the third set and now has 11 kills for the match. Dominique Thompson leads the Badgers with 15 kills and a .407 hitting efficiency. Penn State is paced by Ariel Scott's 15 kills and .406 hitting efficiency through the third set. Katie Slay has added 12 kills with a .524 hitting efficiency and two block solos.

Saturday, Dec. 21 * 7:40 p.m.
Penn State is one set away from winning its sixth NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, but it has not been an easy task against Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions won the first set 25-19 and went up 6-1 in the second set only to have Wisconsin charge back in front 19-17. Penn State saved one set point and ended up scoring the final three points for a 26-24 victory. Ariel Scott leads Penn State with 11 kills on 23 attacks, while Katie Slay has 10 kills on 14 attacks and a solo block. Micha Hancock has set Penn State to a .301 hitting efficiency while adding three kills, an ace and two block assists. Wisconsin in led by Dominique Thompson's nine kills on 18 attacks, while Deme Morales has contributed seven kills. Lauren Carlini has set the Badgers to a .208 hitting efficiency.

Saturday, Dec. 21 * 10:20 a.m.
Anna Collier provided setting drills and traing tips for players on the sand with the help of several beach stars and upcoming talent.

Saturday, Dec. 21 * 9:50 a.m.
Courtney Thompson, who hails from nearby Kent, Wash., continues to be in the spotlight at the AVCA Convention on Saturday morning as she presented another court session using local youth players as demonstrators. In this hour she discussed setting drills that you make you better versus setting drills that just make you tired. Thompson gave her impressions on how to tell the difference between the two.

Saturday, Dec. 21 * 9:20 a.m.
Jon Aharoni with USA Volleyball Beach CAP provided a session on the sand, highlighting effective and game-like sand practices. Beach or sand volleyball continues to grow in the youth and college ranks. As the number of players continue to find their way onto the beaches and sand facilities, so has the interest in clubs and coaches who want to help fill a need within their region.

Saturday, Dec. 21 * 9:10 a.m.
Bill Hamiter, USA Volleyball CAP cadre and director of U.S. National Sitting Volleyball Team Programs, held a session on reading and anticipating for young players. The court session was well attended to start the final day of the AVCA Convention.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 7 p.m.
Courtney Thompson was on hand Friday evening as her "Court & Spark: A Volleyball Documentary" was shown to a public audience at KeyArena. The one-hour show explores who Thompson is, how it is to live a life as a professional American volleyball star overseas, how she has overcome staggering odds and mixed in with experts of the game speaking about her. Thompson will be on hand during the AVCA Convention and the showings. The documentary is aimed at players, parents, coaches, fans, media and policymakers who can support the creation and maintenance of sports facilities and opportunities for our youth. To see the trailer, additional information and how to get the DVD, click here.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 3:35 p.m.
Karch Kiraly demonstrated his serving technique Friday afternoon to kick start a Sports Imports serving contest. Among the celebrities who were on hand were USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal, two-time U.S. Olympic Games silver medalist Lindsey Berg and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Stacy Sykora. Both Berg and Sykora have been to three Olympic Games. AVCA Convention attendees were selected to serve to locations on the court to win a wide range of prizes, topped by a mini iPad.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 3:15 p.m.
The Net Live produced a live podcast with AVCA Convention attendees discussing a wide range of topics. Headlined by 2008 U.S. Olympic Games gold-medalist Reid Priddy (second from left) and two-time Olympian Kevin Barnett along with DJ Roueche (far left), the show's guest include 2012 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Courtney Thompson, who had her documentary Court & Spark debut at the AVCA Convention on Friday afternoon.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 2:30 p.m.
Karch Kiraly, head coach for the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team, presented a session on "Swing Blocking: Training Techniques and Reactions" to a standing-room-only crowd.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 2:15 p.m.
Lindsey Berg (left) and Stacy Sykora (right) helped promote Molten's new program, Pass it Forward. An interactive and educational program, Pass it Forward aims to promote youth sport participation while creating a space to discuss topics such as philanthropy, sportsmanship and accountability. For more information, visit

Friday, Dec. 20 * 1:40 p.m.
John Kessel, USA Volleyball's director of sport development, gives an on-court presentation on "Teaching Jump Serves and Passers" on Friday afternoon to a packed, standing-room-only crowd.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 1:20 p.m.
Joe Trinsey, U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team technical coordinator, provided an analysis of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship semifinals. He provided a statistical breakdown on what went right and wrong for each team leading to their outcome. Using the analysis, assumptions were made on what both Penn State and Wisconsin need to do in order to win the championship match on Saturday.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 12:40 p.m.
Krista Vansant was presented with the 2013 AVCA Division I Women's Player of the Year with Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) and her head coach Jim McLaughlin (right) on each side. Full Release

Friday, Dec. 20 * 12:20 p.m.
Courtney Thompson (left), a 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Volleyball Team silver medalist, interviews each of the Players of the Year and the First-Team All-Americans. Here Thompson has a chance to talk with University of Nebraska's Kelsey Robinson, who trained in the USA gym this past summer. All-America Release

Friday, Dec. 20 * 11:15 a.m.
Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) was on hand to help present the AVCA All-America Awards and Players of the Year trophies. Among those receiving honors included University of Minnesota's Tori Dixon (center), who is coached by former U.S. Men's and Women's National Volleyball Team head coach Hugh McCutcheon.

Friday, Dec. 20 * 9:05 a.m.
(Left to Right): Karch Kiraly, Bill Ferguson, Cathy George, Nina Matthies and Mike Sealy discussed "Why We Win" in a super session that kicked off Friday's schedule. Each provided their own stories that have brought them to elite status and the strategies they use to motivate their players.

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 8:45 p.m.
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. 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. Full Story

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 6:45 p.m.
The University of Wisconsin (28-9) continued its Cinderella season by shocking University of Texas 25-19, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23 in the first of two NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship semifinal matches at KeyArena in Seattle. Wisconsin entered the tournament as the No. 12 seed, while Texas was the defending national champion and 2013 top-seed with a 10-match NCAA postseason win streak. No. 12 Wisconsin will face the winner of the second semifinal between No. 2 seed Penn State and local favorite and No. 3 seed University of Washington. Wisconsin’s Ellen Chapman led the Badgers with 17 kills, three aces and two blocks. Teammate Deme Morales, a diminutive 5-7 outside hitter, charted 14 kills and 14 digs in the victory. Dominique Thompson added 12 kills and five blocks. Freshman setter Lauren Carlini, who had extensive time with USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline before going into college, ran the Badger offense with 50 assists, 12 digs, four aces and two blocks. Annemarie Hickey posted a team-best 21 digs. Full Story

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 5:30 p.m.
Wisconsin freshman setter Lauren Carlini has her team up 2-0 in sets over defending National Champion Texas in the first of two NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship matches in Seattle. Wisconsin's serve has netted six aces as Texas could not get into its offensive system consistently.

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 4:27 p.m.
Jane Collymore, a former U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team player, used her singing talents prior to the first semifinal with her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. She released her second album this fall and creating a name for herself in a new career path. To follow her, visit

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 3:15 p.m.
Lindsey Berg (center), a two-time Olympic Games silver medalist, signs autographs and interacts with young fans prior to the first semifinal match. Tama Miyashiro (left) and Stacy Sykora (right) also took part in the signing.

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 3:10 p.m.
Olympic Games silver medalists Tama Miyashiro (2012), Lindsey Berg (2008, 2012) and Stacy Sykora (2008) signed autographs prior to the opening semifinal match. The three players have a combined seven Olympic Games between them. Miyashiro played collegiately in Seattle for University of Washington and will be cheering on the Huskies later today as they face Penn State.

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 2:10 p.m.
Courtney Thompson, a 2012 Olympic Games silver medalist, did a sesssion during the AVCA Annual Convention.

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 1:50 p.m.
U.S. Olympians Lindsey Berg (left) and Stacy Sykora (right) pose with hometown hero and Olympic silver medalist Courtney Thompson prior to her doing a coaching session as part of the AVCA Annual Convention.

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 11:30 a.m.
John Kessel (center), USA Volleyball director of sport development, is inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame during the Jostens Coaches Banquet. In his acceptance speech, Kessel asked his fellow coaches in attendance not to be a child's last coach. Full Story

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 9:30 a.m.
Stacy Sykora, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist and three-time Olympian, poses with a young fan in the Exhibit Hall of the AVCA Annual Convention

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 9:10 a.m.
Replica mini Molten volleyball were being distributed to AVCA Convention attendees.

Thursday, Dec. 19 * 8:45 a.m.
USA Volleyball is holding its Beach Assembly in conjunction with the AVCA Annual Convention to bring in ideas and thoughts from all realms of the sport.
Wednesday, Dec. 18 * 3:15 p.m.
Molten volleyballs were being pounded onto the Sport Court at KeyArena in Seattle as local favorite University of Washington held its public workout. Molten is the official volleyball for NCAA Volleyball as well as key sponsor partner with USA Volleyball.

Wednesday, Dec. 18 * 1:40 p.m.
Penn State's practice at KeyArena was a matter of players working in unison. The Nittany Lions are aiming for their sixth NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship title and first since 2010. Penn State, seeded second in the tournament, takes on third-seed Washington in the semifinal round and No. 1 Texas faces No. 12 Wisconsin in the other semifinal. Texas is the defending champion.

Wednesday, Dec. 18 * 12:30 p.m.
The NCAA has produced a mural depicting the history of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. Take a moment and relive all titles won since the inaugural event in 1981.

Wednesday, Dec. 18 * 12:20 p.m.
The NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship Round of 16 bracket is displayed on the concourse of KeyArena, site of the national semifinals and finals in Seattle. Fans will have the opportunity to have their pictures taken next to giant backdrop. Further, fans will have the chance to get autographs from U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team members Lindsey Berg (2008 and 2012 Olympic silver medalist), Stacy Sykora (2008 Olympic silver medalist) and Tama Miyashiro (2012 Olympic silver medalist) on the KeyArena concourse prior to the start of the Thursday semifinal matches.

Wednesday, Dec. 18 * 12:15 p.m.
The iconic Space Needle in Seattle provides a backdrop to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship being held in nearby KeyArena. The Seattle Center, which includes both KeyArena and Space Needle, will provide visiting fans many fun things to do outside of the matches and the AVCA Convention. Pike Place Market overlooking nearby Elliott Bay also provides a fun experience for visitors from all around the world with its farmers and craft markets, specialty foods and indepedent businesses.

Wednesday, Dec. 18 * 10:45 a.m.
A remarkable display of ginger bread houses, or better yet ginger bread cities, are being showcased in the lobby of the Sheraton hotel. In this image, ginger bread houses form the shape of many Seattle landmarks including the Space Needle and CenturyLink Field where the Seattle Seahawks play.

Wednesday, Dec. 18 * 9:15 a.m.
One of the points in the BCAP classroom session was identifying the fundamental differences in indoor and beach volleyball. Beach volleyball is athlete driven versus coach driven in indoor. Team composition is done by the athletes in beach volleyball versus staff and coaches for indoor. Athletes handle game managemet for beach volleyball while the coaches do so for indoor volleyball. For the most part, beach volleyball is one-on-one communications versus group communication for indoor volleyball.