Sunday, December 22, 2013

NCAA | Volleyball fans do Seattle proud

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.
Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

“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
From our perspective at courtside, the roar of the crowd seemed evenly balanced. More than anything, appreciative fans screamed approval for big plays, especially on defense, no matter which team won the point. And the crowd stood and cheered for both squads when Penn State won the final point and the school’s sixth championship.

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1 comment:

  1. I am a Husky fan, but I was surprised that Eckerman did not make the All Tournament team since Texas won at least a set in the semis, but was glad that Krista Vansant did make it although it was not her best match by a long shot. I was cheering for the other UW in the championship match, but I expected Penn State to get the win.


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