Written by: Amanda Szylin
Last night, the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship took place in Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena. Of the four final teams in the tournament, there were a total of 35 AAU alumnae out of the 65 total athletes. Brigham Young University and the #2 ranked University of Texas team took the court first, followed by the top ranked Stanford and #5 Penn State. Both games ended in upsets, with Penn State and Brigham Young University heading to the National Championship tomorrow.
BYU vs Texas
The unranked BYU team featured eight AAU alum versus Texas, who had nine alum, six of them starting the game. Of the former AAU members for BYU, Whitney Young and Tia Withers Welling led the pack, earning a combined 8.5 points with seven total attacks between the two of them. Young had a total of seven block assists, two kills and two digs. Welling had three service aces, the most in the game, and five digs.
Texas’ AAU alum dominated the game, scoring 47.5 of their 67.5 total points. Combined, the former AAU members earned 36 kills, 103 total attacks, 50 service aces and digs and 11 block assists. The leading scorer for Texas was Chiaka Ogbogu with 20 points, followed by Haley Eckerman with 12. Ogbogu also led the team in kills with 14. Eckerman had 30 total attempts, the highest on the team, and Cat McCoy recorded a team high 14 digs for the night. All of this just wasn’t enough to surpass the tough BYU team, who became the first unranked team to advance to the National Championship match. This is BYU’s first appearance in the championship game and, if they win tomorrow, it will be the first time since 1998 that a team outside of the Pac-12, Big Ten or Big 12 will have won the sought-after trophy.
Penn State vs Stanford
Penn State and Stanford, two volleyball powerhouses, battled it out next in Oklahoma City. Penn State’s roster touted 13 AAU alumnae, while Stanford featured only five.
Stanford had three former AAU members in the game against Penn State, who totaled 25.5 points out of the 61 that the team scored. The AAU alum recorded 22 kills, 25 digs and five block assists. Merete Lutz scored 11.5 points, closely followed by fellow AAU member Jordan Burgess (10.5). Burgess also notched 13 digs and 10 kills, the same number of kills Lutz had. The #1 ranked Stanford couldn’t hold Penn State’s aggressive play and ultimately fell to the #5 team. Stanford finished the season with a record of 33-2.
Four former AAU members participated in the semifinal game for Penn State, racking up a total of 39 kills, 88 total attempts, 41 digs and seven block assists. Megan Courtney and Ali Frantti were the headliners for Penn State. Courtney recorded 23 kills, 16 digs and 26.5 total points. Frantti earned 19 points with 16 kills. Dominique Gonzalez made a name for herself with 23 total digs, which was the most for the night for Penn State. PSU head coach Russ Rose and his program will be looking for the school’s seventh title in eight years.
Be sure to tune in tonight to ESPN 2 to watch Penn State and BYU battle it out on the Chesapeake Energy Arena’s hardwood for all the marbles in the Championship Game at 7:30PM.
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