Saturday, December 14, 2013

NCAA | Will USC’s Alexis Olgard play against Washington in volleyball Elite 8?

Stanford lets a win slip as Penn State and Wisconsin punch Final 4 tickets
  • #3 Washington @ #6 USC | December 14 | 8:30PM | ESPNU

Alexis Olgard (1) blocks against
Krista Vansant (16) earlier this season
 -photo by Shutter Geeks Photography
USC defeated BYU Friday night despite the absence of all-conference middle Alexis Olgard’s from the lineup. Volleyblog Seattle’s sources in Los Angeles tell us that Olgard approached the USC coaching staff before the match to tell them she was unable to play. No reason has been released, and we have no indication whether she’ll be on the court tonight against Washington. Olgard, a senior, played her high school volleyball at Mead High in Spokane.

Only one Pac-12 team will reach the Final Four (Washington or USC) after Stanford booted a great chance to knock off Penn State. Stanford led 9-6 in the fifth set when Brittany Howard tipped instead of swinging away, starting a 6-0 Penn State run. Stanford’s Rachel Williams melted late, as she was blocked several times down the stretch. By contrast, Penn State hit hard at every opportunity. Williams and Carly Wopat played their final college matches.

The Badgers became the second Big Ten team to reach the 2013 Final Four, beating conference foe Purdue 3-1. Wisconsin’s leading hitter—with 20 kills on 63 attempts—was Deme Morales. Why is that worth noting? Morales is 5 feet, 7 inches tall … an inch shorter than Washington’s Cassie Strickland.

If Nebraska defeats Texas tonight, the Huskers will face Wisconsin in the semifinals. The two schools met in the 2000 NCAA Championship. Nebraska had a first-year coach—who had just left the head coaching job at Wisconsin. The Huskers won the title, and the coach was … John Cook.

Photos courtesy Shutter Geeks Photography

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