The Norman Transcript


December 11, 2010

Sooners drop consecutive sets in Sweet 16 match

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Blair Brown’s mighty right arm pushed three-time defending champion Penn State a step closer to another trip to the NCAA national semifinals.

The 6-foot-5 senior had 24 kills and the fourth-seeded Nittany Lions swept Oklahoma 25-23, 25-23, 25-15 on Friday night to extend their record home winning streak to 93 matches.

Penn State advances to face Duke in Saturday night’s regional final, with the winner getting a trip to next weekend’s final four in Kansas City.

“You want me to read the stats?” Oklahoma coach Santiago Restrepo responded when asked if Brown was the difference. “Twenty-four kills. I would say so. ... She’s an All-American for a reason.”

Oklahoma (23-11) stayed close much of the night, especially during a sloppy first set for Penn State that included six attack errors by the Nittany Lions. Sallie McLaurin led the Sooners with 11 kills.

Penn State’s imposing frontline led by Brown proved too much down the stretch in front of the Nittany Lions’ rowdy student section. The loud, loyal tournament following can turn 5,800-seat Rec Hall into a stuffy, hostile arena for opponents.

Alyssa D’Errico had 15 digs for Penn State, seeking a fourth straight national title.

“Obviously, Penn State is a great team. They have phenomenal size,” Duke coach Jolene Nagel said after the Blue Devils beat Missouri in four sets earlier Friday.

In other brackets Friday night, Purdue upset top seed Florida in three sets in a regional semifinal in Austin, Texas, and No. 3 Stanford defeated Ohio State in four sets in Dayton, Ohio. No. 2 Nebraska was scheduled to face Washington later Friday night in Seattle.

None of the top seeds had as favorable early draw as Penn State, placed in a bracket that had it playing at home the first two weekends of the tourney. The Nittany Lions haven’t lost in cozy Rec Hall since falling to Tennessee in an NCAA regional match in 2005.

Nearly every dig, set and spike is accompanied by some kind of chant from the student section — usually shouting out the letters “P-S-U.”

“It’s now or never, we have to have energy when we walk into the gym, to have all these people there supporting us,” Brown said. “The energy has got to be there.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

  • The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline Hall of Fame class

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats....

    July 28, 2014

  • Telling The Boss, sorry

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech....

    July 28, 2014

  • Wainwright bounces back to beat Cubs

    CHICAGO — When St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh inning on Sunday, he had no idea whether he was going to replace starter Adam Wainwright....

    July 28, 2014

  • A’s rout Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso drove in three runs, helping Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 Sunday night....

    July 28, 2014

  • Clark rallies in Montreal

    MONTREAL — Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk....

    July 28, 2014