Both of the designated “home teams” in this neutral location dispatched their opponents with surgical precision. The characters were different but the plot was the same. More than 12,000 spectators at the Sprint Center were witness to two shutouts where the outcome was indicated early and there was no surprise ending.
The opening match featured Penn State, the defending three-time champion, against, 2009 co-finalist, Texas. The Nittany Lions started quickly, scoring the first six points. The score reached 10-1 and 15-5. Penn State won the first and second sets by the same score 25-13. The third set was competitive but the Longhorns seemed out of sync and less confident than the Nittany Lions. The best that Texas could do was take a one-point lead at 12-11. Penn State refused to allow Texas make any unanswered scoring runs and prevailed in the third set 25-22.
Penn State's performance was as balanced as it was dominant. Three Nittany Lions recorded double-digit kills – Blair Brown (12), Deja McClendon (11) and Ariel Scott.
In team totals, only the digs were close with Penn State only having a slight edge at 50 - 47. Other relevant statistics were as follows: kills 45 - 31, hitting percentage .365 - .131, aces 8-1, blocks 9.5 – 3.
The second match had PAC-10 rivals, the California Golden Bears and the University of Southern California Women of Troy facing each for the third time this season. USC won both of the regular season conference matches in five and four sets. Still, California overwhelmed USC in straight sets 25-14, 25-17, 25-20. Although, like the first semi-final, the third set was more completive it was not close. USC had a one-point lead early in the third but lost the lead immediately and never regained it. Two California players, Tarah Murrey (23) and Adrianne Gehan (14) had five more kills than the entire USC team combined. California's hitting percentage was .297 while USC posted a dismal .107.
Penn State's Kristin Carpenter dives for a dig attempt. Pe
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By Mike Valverde