Penn St. defeats BYU for volleyball national championship

BYU Women's volleyball fell short in the national championship game against Penn St. (BYU Photo)
BYU Women’s volleyball fell short in the national championship game against Penn St. (BYU Photo)

The BYU Women’s Volleyball team went to the national championships for the first time this season, winning their first game against Texas but facing defeat in the national championship game against Penn State Dec. 20.

Megan Courtney and Aiyana Whitney each had 11 kills, and Penn State defeated Brigham Young 25-21, 26-24, 25-14 Saturday to win their second consecutive NCAA women’s volleyball championship.

Micha Hancock had 36 assists and five digs for the Nittany Lions. The senior from nearby Edmond won in front of family and friends in her final college match. Her expert setting helped the Nittany Lions neutralize the nation’s No. 1 blocking team.

Penn State (36-3) won its sixth title in eight years and No. 7 overall to break a tie with Stanford for the most overall titles.

Jennifer Hamson had 14 kills and Alexa Gray added nine for BYU, which had won 12 straight matches. The Cougars (30-5) were trying to become the first unseeded team to win a national championship.

The Nittany Lions beat No. 1 seed Stanford in the semifinals, and then defeated BYU for their 20th straight victory.

In the first set, Whitney had five kills and Courtney and Nia Grant had three for the Nittany Lions, who held BYU to a .132 hitting percentage.

In the second set, BYU took a 17-14 lead before Penn State rallied to take it 26-24. Whitney hammered down four more kills with just one error. Gray had six kills in the set for BYU, but the Cougars struggled with their passing game.

Hamson’s service error at 24-all gave Penn State a set point, and a double block by Hancock and Haleigh Washington put set in the Nittany Lions’ column.

Penn State rolled through the third set, holding the Cougars to a minus-.028 hitting percentage.

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