The Wisconsin Badgers women’s volleyball team put their biggest rival to the test, Saturday night.
And looking ahead to next season, may have put a small chink in the armor of the Big Ten, and now National champs.
For a brief moment in the fourth set, down two sets to one, UW had spectators, competitors and everyone onlooking believing they could pull-off the upset.
Penn State though showed why their program continues to be the benchmark in the respective sport, getting out to a two set lead and rolling to their sixth National Championship in school history (25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23), an NCAA record.
The win for the Nittany Lions is their third over UW this season. They beat Wisconsin twice in straight sets during the regular season. Overall, Penn State has a 43-7 advantage in the series between the two teams, including a 3-0 advantage in postseason play.
The fourth set of the night was by far the most entertaining. With the lead changing hands four times, and five other times being tied, it was a service error late in the set that cost Wisconsin their momentum, and likely the match.
The defensive effort of the Badgers impressed just about everybody. UW outblocked the NCAA leaders, 28-10.
Penn State’s attack percentage was down from the last two times UW played them, but still a very respectable .206. Wisconsin ended with a .172.
Wisconsin had just seven service errors in comparison to 12 for Penn State.