Huge crowds fill Key Arena, even when home team no longer in contention
- #2 Penn State def. #14 Wisconsin 3-1 (25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23)
Penn State libero Dominique Gonzalez stood on the Key Arena volleyball court and marveled at the noise.
“It was really loud,” she said. “They filled the stands. Even though their home team wasn’t playing here, they still came out to cheer on the national championship game. That is, obviously, great.”
Two days after the Nittany Lions eliminated Washington in the national semifinals, there was trepidation in some circles about whether Seattle fans would show for Penn State vs. Wisconsin. Not only were the seats filled, but players figured fans had picked a favorite.
“There were a couple times I heard boos,” said PSU setter Micha Hancock, voted the championship’s Most Outstanding Player. “It was, like, dang! Tough crowd!”
“I think a lot of people were cheering for Wisconsin, the underdog,” said Gonzalez. “And why not? They play hard. They want to win.”
The loudest explosion came toward the end of the third set, when Wisconsin’s 5-7 Deme Morales stuffed 6-1 All-American Deja McClendon. That gave the Badgers a 23-18 lead, on the way to their only set win of the match.
|Penn State players celebrate their championship in front of an appreciative Seattle crowd|
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Brett Hamann
- In case you missed it, Wisconsin’s gritty libero, Annemarie Hickey, suffered a shoulder separation in set four … and stayed in the match. See details in Penn State defeats Wisconsin 3-1 for fifthvolleyball championship in seven years and Wisconsin’s Annemarie Hickey tries to gut out dislocated shoulder (Jayda Evans)
- The all-Championship Team, selected by media, did not include Wisconsin middle Dominque Thompson, who hit .314 and led the Badgers with 16 kills, trailing only the 21 kills by Penn State’s Ariel Scott. C’mon, media … if Wisconsin had won, Thompson was our leading candidate for Most Outstanding Player, and was—on the ballot we submitted—second only to Micha Hancock on the “outstanding” scale.