Penn State Back in Title Tilt

Russ Rose's PSU women's volleyball team advanced to the NCAA championship by whipping Washington in Seattle. The Lions will face Big Ten foe Wisconsin Saturday.

The Penn State women's volleyball team is back in the NCAA championship game for the first time since 2010. And the Nittany Lions will be facing a familiar foe while shooting for their fifth national championship in the last eight seasons.

Russ Rose's second-seeded squad swept hometown and No. 3 seed Washington in the best three-of-five (25-14, 25-13, 25-16) at Key Arena in Seattle Friday to advance to Saturday's title tilt (9:30 p.m., ESPN2).

There, Penn State will face fellow Big Ten program Wisconsin. The No. 12 seed Badgers stunned No. 1 Texas 3-1 in Thursday's other semifinal, becoming the lowest-seeded team ever to advance to the championship match.

The Nittany Lions swept the season series with Wisconsin, winning home and away in 3-0 shutouts. PSU has five titles, and a sixth would tie the NCAA record. This is the first time two Big Ten teams have met in the final.

In beating Washington (30-3), Penn State (33-2) extended its winning streak to 24 matches.

Penn State trailed 11-9 early in the first set but went on a tear behind the serving of lefty Micha Hancock to go up 17-11. The Lions scored 16 of the last 19 points in the set to cruise to the win.

Hancock was the key in the second set, too. Her powerful left-handed serve allowed Penn State to build an 11-6 lead to a 17-6 advantage, effectively ending the set. By winning 25-13, the Lions held the Huskies to their lowest point total in a set all season.

The third set was a blowout from the start, as a demoralized Husky squad did not know what hit it. PSU dominated from start to finish to

Hancock finished with 39 assists. Her passing allowed Penn State's big swingers to build huge hitting percentages. Katie Slay was .727, Ariel Scott .556, Megan Courtney .545 and Deja McClendon .391.

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