Stanford Claims NCAA Men's Championship

5/8/2010

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STANFORD, Calif., - Playing in the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship match for the third time in the past five years, No. 12 Penn State fell one win short in its bid for a third national title, falling to top-ranked Stanford, 30-25, 30-20, 30-18 on the Cardinal's home floor.

The No. 3 seed, Penn State finished with a 24-8 mark, while No. 1 Stanford improved to 24-6 in front of 6,635 in Maples Pavilion. The Nittany Lions were looking to add to their NCAA Championships from 1994 and 2008, while the Cardinal won its second, joining the 1997 crown. Despite the loss in the title match, the Penn State men's and women's volleyball teams have combined to win four of the last six NCAA Championships.

Stanford became the first team to win the NCAA men's volleyball championship on its home floor since UCLA in 1996. Penn State will host the 42nd NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship, May 5 & 7, 2011 in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions last served as NCAA host in 2006.

Two of the nation's premier athletic departments battled it out on the men's volleyball court for the first time in NCAA Championship competition. The Nittany Lions had won the last meeting, 3-0, on Feb. 11, 2006 at the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass. Penn State still leads the series, 5-3.

The Nittany Lions were making their 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and advanced to their sixth NCAA Championship match after defeating No. 3 Cal State Northridge in three sets (30-21, 30-23, 30-28) in the national semifinals on Thursday. Stanford was making its first NCAA Championship appearance since 1997. The Cardinal defeated Ohio State in its semifinal, 3-0 (30-25, 30-26, 30-17).

For Stanford, sophomore Brad Lawson had a match-high 24 kills on .821 hitting. Junior Spencer McLachlin had 12 kills, while senior Evan Romero was third on the team with 11. Senior Kawika Shoji guided the Cardinal to a .495 attack percentage with 47 assists and tied for first on the team with brother Erik Shoji with 10 digs. Senior Garrett Werner led the team in blocks with six total.

For Penn State, senior Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) led the Nittany Lions wth 15 kills, while redshirt sophomore Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) put down 12 and senior Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) had 10. Redshirt sophomore setter Edgardo Goas (San Juan, Puerto Rico) tallied 38 assists and junior libero Dennis Del Valle (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico) led the lions with 12 digs. Three Nittany Lions posted two blocks apiece, including Lipsitz, Price and Sunder.
Lawson and K. Shoji were named co-Most Outstnading Players of the NCAA Championship. K. Shoji, Price, E. Shoji, Sunder, Lipsitz and Lawson were all named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team.

The Nittany Lions opened the 2010 NCAA National Championship with a service error, but a Goas kill and a Wolf ace had Penn State leading 2-1. The Cardinal tied it up at 2-2, but a kill by Price and a triple block by Goas, Turko and Sunder kept PSU in front, 4-3. A 3-0 Stanford run gave the Cardinal a 6-4 edge, but the Lions answered back with a 4-0 run to take a two-point lead, 10-8. Sunder and Lipsitz each had a kill in the run, while Stanford notched two attack errors. The Lions maintained control of the lead until a kill by Stanford's Spencer McLachlin and a Cardinal stuff had the set knotted at 13-13. Two Turko kills sandwiching a PSU error had Penn State in the lead, 15-14, midway through the frame. Stanford used a 3-0 run, including back-to-back services aces from Lawson to move back into the lead, 17-15. A PSU block and two straight Lion kills allowed Penn State to tie it up at 18-18. The score tied once more before a Lawson kill and a Cardinal block had Stanford leading 23-20. After a Nittany Lion timeout, Stanford's lead grew to four, 24-20. A Cardinal error and a Price kill had Penn State within two, 24-22, but Stanford recorded the next two points to send Penn State to the bench for the second time. Price posted one kill and Lipsitz put down two, but Stanford closed out the first set, 30-25, with a kill from Evan Romero.

Penn State took a 6-3 lead to open set two. A Lipsitz kill and two Stanford errors put the Lions up 3-1 to start before another Stanford error and two Penn State kills increased the Lion lead to three. The Cardinal fought to within one, 6-5, but a 4-0 PSU run had the Nittany Lions leading by five, 10-5. However, a 6-2 Stanford run put the Cardinal within one of tying the set. Following a PSU timeout, a kill by Mclachlin tied the set at 12-12. A 3-0 run, including a Lipsitz/Price stuff, a Sunder kill and a Price ace, put PSU ahead, 15-13. Stanford did not back down and used a 4-0 run for a 17-15 advantage. The Nittany Lions fight to within one, 17-16, but it would be the closest the Lions would get to the Cardinal for the remainder of the set. The Cardinal allowed Penn State just four additional points before closing out the set, 30-20. Sunder and Price each tallied a kill for the Nittany Lions and their other two points came on Stanford errors.

Stanford grabbed a 6-3 lead to start set three and despite kills from Lipsitz and Price, the Cardinal increased the gap to four, 9-5. A Sunder putdown following a Penn State timeout, but a 3-0 Stanford run had the Cardinal up by six, 12-6. Stanford's lead increased to seven, 14-7, before the Lions began to fight back. A 4-1 PSU run with back-to-back kills by Lipsitz and a Price ace had PSU within four, 15-11. After a Stanford timeout, the Cardinal recorded the next three points forcing Penn State to head to the bench. Stanford's momentum continued to grow as Lawson put down three for Stanford as they rocketed to a 25-15 lead. Lipsitz and Sunder each pounded kills for PSU, but the Lions were unable to steal any momentum from the Cardinal. Lawson slammed the final kill for Stanford to win the championship.

courtesy Penn State

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