Volleyball Capital of the Nation

No. 1 Nittany Lions give Penn State a gender sweep for national crowns in the sport with 3-1 victory over Pepperdine. The PSU women captured their title in December.

IRVINE, Calif. — In dramatic fashion, Penn State's men's volleyball team (30-1) brought the NCAA championship back to the East Coast with a 3-1 (27-30, 33-31, 30-25, 30-23) victory over Pepperdine (17-11) in the NCAA title match on Saturday night. The 2008 NCAA title is the first for the program since 1994 when Penn State became the first school from outside California to win the title, as the previous 24 titles were won by teams from the Golden State.

GAME ONE, (27-30)
A Murray and Holt blocked opened up the game for the Nittany Lions and a Holt kill and ace put Penn State up 3-2. The Nittany Lions remained on top, going up 8-5 on a Lipsitz kill and ace and Holt and Stauffer block before Holt and Anderson kills gave the Lions the 10-6 lead and forced a Pepperdine timeout. Out of the break, another monster stuff by Holt and Murray, along with a Wave attack error and a Sweitzer ace that rolled along the tape and dropped in, put Penn State up 13-6. Following a Pepperdine kill, a block by Murray and Holt and a triple stuff by Murray, Holt and Anderson made it 15-7 but two Pepperdine kills brought them within six at 15-9. The teams traded kills and a Wave ace and Lion attack error trimmed the Lion lead to four at 16-12 and forced a Penn State timeout. Following a Pepperdine service error out of the break, the Waves scored two more on kills before a Lipsitz kill halted the run. A Lion service error and a questionable Pepperdine ace helped the Waves score seven of the next eight points to pull ahead 21-19 and force a Lion timeout. A monster Anderson kill out of the timeout pulled Penn State within one at 21-20 and the teams traded kills twice before a Pepperdine kill and ace aided them in going up 26-22. Lion put-aways from Lipsitz and Anderson helped Penn State pull within two at 26-24 and following a Wave block, an Anderson kill and a Sweitzer put-away trimmed the gap to 27-26 to force a Pepperdine timeout. Out of the break, the teams traded points before a Wave kill and block gave them the game, 30-27.

GAME TWO (33-31)
Penn State took the 4-1 lead in the second game aided by two Anderson kills and a Murray put-away. A Sweitzer and Lipsitz block made it 6-4 but Pepperdine fought back to tie the game at 6-6 with two kills. Seven ties ensued before a Wave kill off the Nittany Lion block put Pepperdine ahead 15-14 heading into the television timeout. Out of the break, kills from Sweitzer and Anderson along with a block from Holt and Stauffer pushed Penn State ahead 17-15 and caused a Pepperdine timeout. A Lion service error out of the break was quickly followed by kills from Holt and Murray along with a Murray and Holt block to give Penn State the 20-16 lead and force another Wave timeout. Two Pepperdine kills out of the break pulled them within two at 20-18 and the teams traded points four times before another Wave kill trimmed the Lion lead within one at 24-23. Following a Penn State timeout, the squads continued to exchange points, with a Sweitzer kill giving the Lions the 27-25 advantage. But a Penn State attack that landed wide and a Wave service error knotted the game at 27-27 and forced a Lion timeout. Out of the break, a Sweitzer kill put Penn State up 28-27 but Pepperdine responded with a kill and block of its own to swing the momentum and put the Waves ahead 29-28. A Lipsitz kill evened the score and the teams exchanged kills to tie the game at 30-30. Pepperdine followed up an attack error with a kill to make it 31-31 and a Sweitzer kill put Penn State ahead 32-31 before an Anderson kill ended the game, 33-31.

GAME THREE (30-25)
The Nittany Lions took the 5-3 lead in the third game on two Anderson kills and went up 7-6 on another Anderson put-away. The Waves responded with two kills and a block to go ahead 9-7 but a Holt kill and ace helped Penn State tie the game at 10-10. The teams traded points twice before a Sweitzer kill and Lion triple block from Stauffer, Lipsitz and Sweitzer put Penn State up 14-12 and forced a Pepperdine timeout. Out of the break, three more exchanges of points and a Wave attack error gave Penn State the 18-15 advantage before Lion kills from Anderson and Lipsitz pushed the Lion lead to 21-17 and caused another Pepperdine timeout. The squads exchanged errors out of the break and a Sweitzer kill and Stauffer and Lipsitz block put Penn State up 24-18. The Waves came back with two kills and a block before a Holt kill gave the Lions the 25-21 lead but a Pepperdine kill and ace trimmed the Penn State lead to two at 25-23 and forced a Nittany Lion timeout. Out of the break, a Wave attack error gave Penn State the 26-23 lead but Pepperdine responded with two consecutive kills to pull within one at 26-25. An Anderson kill and a Penn State triple block from Anderson, Lipsitz and Murray pushed the Lions up 28-25 before a Wave attack error and another Penn State triple block from Anderson, Lipsitz and Murray ended the game, 30-25.

GAME FOUR (30-23)
Penn State jumped out to the quick 6-0 lead to start the fourth game behind a Wave service error, a Murray and Lipsitz block, a Pepperdine attack error and Nittany Lion kills from Lipsitz and Anderson as the Waves used both of their timeouts in the run. Lipsitz kills helped Penn State go up 7-1 and then 10-4 before another Lipsitz put-away made it 14-7. But Pepperdine claimed three of the next four points to pull within four at 15-11 and force a Penn State timeout. Out of the break, the teams traded points three times before Lion kills from Anderson and Murray and two Pepperdine errors put Penn State ahead 22-14. The Waves took three of the next four points to pull within six at 23-17 and the squads traded service errors, with an Anderson kill making it 25-18 and a Sweitzer kill making it 26-19. A Lion block by Holt and junior middle hitter Jon Sherrick (Mountville, Pa.) made it 27-19 and following a Pepperdine kill, Holt returned the favor to put the Lions ahead 28-20. But the Waves fought back to score the next three points on two kills and an ace to trim the Lion lead to five at 28-23 and force a Penn State timeout. A Murray kill of a scramble play made it 29-23 and a long swat on the Pepperdine attack on the next play started the party for the victorious Nittany Lions.

NOTES

  • The NCAA title was the first for the program since 1994 when Penn State became the first school from outside California to win the title, as the previous 24 titles were won by teams from the Golden State.
  • Penn State is also the only school outside of California to have its men's and women's programs capture a national championship, as the Nittany Lion women's squad won in 1999 and also this past fall in 2007, outlasting Stanford in five games at Arco Arena in Sacramento on Dec. 15.
  • Penn State has won four NCAA championships in the past 14 months: (Men's volleyball (2008), women's volleyball (2007), fencing (2007), men's gymnastics (2007).

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