The Greatest of All Time

Penn State women's volleyball team caps amazing season with second straight national title. Russ Rose's No. 1 Nittany Lions do it by sweeping No. 2 Stanford in the title tilt.

It's official: the 2008 Penn State team is the best in the history collegiate women's volleyball.

The No. 1 Nittany Lions proved that by sweeping No. 2 Stanford three sets to none in Omaha, Neb., Saturday night to win their second straight national championship and cap a perfect 38-0 season.

What's more, veteran coach Russ Rose's squad did not lose a single set until reaching the Final Four, where it took an early 2-0 lead over Nebraska in a semifinal Thursday night before dropping two sets and then rallying for a 3-2 victory.

On the season, Penn State won 114 sets while lose just those two.

The win over the Cardinal, whom the Nittany Lions beat in the 2007 national final, was not exactly a walkover. PSU had to rally from an early deficit to take the first set, 25-20.

In set No. 2, a scoring controversy held up play for more than five minutes late in the set, and appeared to cost the Lions a point. But they maintained their composure and won, 26-24.

PSU led throughout the third set, and held off a late Stanford rally to win, 25-23.

Junior All-American outside hitter Megan Hodge was once again dominant for the Lions, pounding home 16 kills and coming up with 14 digs. National Player of the Year Nicole Fawcett, another outside hitter, also had a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs.

“We just came out hungry, came out hard, and didn't stop until the end,” Hodge said. “… This was to prove everybody wrong and prove we're a great team.”

Even heading into the final match, there was little question Penn State was a great team. But how great? Only three teams in the history of the sport had ever gone undefeated through the course of the season.

With Saturday's win, the Lions made it four. They also stretched their NCAA-record winning streak to 64 straight matches over two seasons.

“We're thrilled about it,” Rose said of the title. “It was a long season; it was tough.”

When it was over, there were no longer questions of whether this Penn State team is the greatest in the history of the sport. That's a given now.

Suddenly, a compelling argument can be made that it is the greatest team in the history of NCAA team sports.

Hodge was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament for the second straight year. Fawcett and setter Alisha Glass also made the All-Tournament team.


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