Big Ten Volleyball Final Release
Jan. 3, 2008
Penn State captured the Big Ten Conference's second NCAA title with a thrilling five-game victory over top-seeded Stanford on Dec. 15 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. The Nittany Lions swept every match until the final when they went up 2-0 on the Cardinal before dropping the next two sets. In the decisive Game 5, Penn State went on a 7-0 run to pull away at 10-4 before sealing the victory at 15-8. The title marked the second in Penn State and Big Ten history as the Nittany Lions also took home the trophy in 1999.
PSU sophomore outside hitter Megan Hodge was named the Most Outstanding Player of the National Championship after recording a season-high 26 kills against Stanford. As a team, the Nittany Lions shattered the NCAA Tournament record for team hitting percentage with a .424 clip, besting the previous mark of .369 set in 1995 by Long Beach State.
Penn State was one of six Big Ten teams to earn a bid into the 2007 championship bracket, joining Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin. With six squads in, the Big Ten tied with the Big 12 and Pac-10 for the largest conference representation in the championship.
Three Big Ten teams advanced to the regional rounds as Michigan defeated Miami (Ohio) and then-No. 21 Colorado State in Ann Arbor; Michigan State downed Kentucky and then-No. 15 Dayton on the Flyers' home court; and Penn State made quick work of Siena and Albany (N.Y.) at Rec Hall. In regional action, the Nittany Lions swept past the 19th-ranked Wolverines before blowing by No. 17 BYU in University Park. In the Madison, Wis., Regional, Michigan State met up with then-No. 2 Nebraska and forced the Huskers to five games before slipping in the final stanza, 15-9.
Penn State became one of just two teams (Stanford) to earn a berth into all 27 NCAA Volleyball Championships after winning its Big Ten record fifth-consecutive conference title. With a 20-0 Big Ten record, the 2007 Nittany Lions became just the seventh team since double round-robin play began in 1985 to finish the conference schedule undefeated.
Wisconsin finished second in the conference standings with a 17-3 mark and earned the right to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championship. The Badgers finished with a 26-5 overall record and earned a No. 14 final ranking in the coaches' poll.
Minnesota and Purdue tied for third in the conference with identical 11-9 Big Ten records. The Gophers finished with an overall mark of 18-13, while the Boilermakers ended at 19-14 and received votes in the final coaches' poll.
Michigan and Michigan State finished tied for fifth in the conference with 10-10 marks in Big Ten play. The Wolverines went undefeated in early season non-conference action to finish with a 24-11 overall record with a No. 19 final ranking, earning the right to host NCAA first- and second-round action. The Spartans ended the year with a 21-14 mark and the No. 20 spot in the final poll.
The Big Ten placed 11 student-athletes on the AVCA's All-America teams, including first-team selections Nicole Fawcett, Big Ten Player of the Year Christa Harmotto and Megan Hodge of Penn State. Nittany Lion setter Alisha Glass and Wisconsin sophomore Brittney Dolgner were named to the second team, while Badger senior Taylor Reineke and Michigan State's Ashley Schatzle earned spots on the third team. Michigan's Katie Bruzdzinski and Lexi Zimmerman, Purdue's Stephanie Lynch and Wisconsin's Jackie Simpson earned honorable mention recognition. Additionally, Penn State's Russ Rose was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year.