As the Penn State women's volleyball team was in the process of winning its fourth consecutive national championship Saturday evening in a 3-0 rout of Cal at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, ESPN continually ran teasers of the UCONN women's basketball team's pursuit of the UCLA men's basketball's record streak of 88 consecutive wins.
Been there, done that.
With the victory tonight, Penn State has bigger UCLA marks in its sights. Try its seven consecutive national championships from 1967-1973.
That's the number of titles Penn State will have if this season's stellar freshman class that includes budding stars like Deja McClendon, who had 16 kills in the title match, and Katie Slay, who led Penn State with 6 blocks and the championship clinching kill, win out for their careers as seniors Blair Brown, Arielle Wilson and Alyssa D'Errico did Saturday night.
We've exhausted just about every adjective to describe this team. It's been an incredible ride through history with these fine young women, past and present, and it doesn't look like it'll be ending any time soon.
Onto the match, though.
Penn State came out strong in the first set, winning 25-20 while maintaining a lead through most of it. In the second set, things got a little tense. The Lions and Bears traded points in the early going, but Cal then staked itself out to leads of 14-10 and 17-14. Penn State went on a 3-0 run, however, to pull even at 17 before going up 23-22 late in the set. Cal came back once again, however, and had two set points before Penn State roared back one more time to win the set 27-25 on a big kill by Brown.
Coming out of the break, Cal grabbed another early lead, jumping out 10-6 and 12-9. It was all the Lions and Blair Brow from there, though. The senior slammed home eight of Penn State's 18 kills in the clinching set and just dominated Cal down the stretch.
For the match, Brown led Penn State with 18 kills on .316 hitting. Sophomore Kristin Carpenter, another of Penn State's young players, had a game high 46 assists. And in her final match at Penn State, All-American Arielle Wilson had 12 kills on .391 hitting.
As mentioned on the game broadcast, this season's senior class is the only class in history to graduate having one every national title in their four years. Though they saw the end of the incredible 109-match winning streak in September, they played key roles in keeping the more important streak of championships going, setting the stage for their younger teammates to make a run at the Bruins.
That might sound a bit premature, but at this point, who's going to dare say these Lions can't do it?