This is Deb's first season as the chief women's volleyball blogger for the AVCA, and all season long she will do more than just give us the top matches to watch this week...she will predict the outcome. After playing at Iowa State University from 2008-2011, Stadick is now the Program Director for the Badger Region Volleyball Association.
After Thursday night's shocking upset and unexpected pummeling, our championship matchup is set. The Penn State Nittany Lions will face the Wisconsin Badgers in the final match of the 2013 NCAA Women’s DI Volleyball season.
Thursday night's semifinal matches drew a huge, energetic crowd, and Washington fans were out in full force to cheer on their home team. The opening match featured a Wisconsin upset over the No. 1-ranked Texas and had fans on their feet and rooting for the underdog. The second match was expected to be a battle between Penn State and Washington, but the Huskies struggled to find their rhythm and didn’t put up much of a fight.
That leaves us with an all Big Ten title match. Penn State bested Wisconsin in their previous two meetings this season, but the Badgers have (obviously) figured out how to win big matches. I could get into hitting percentages, key players and other random bits of analysis. But I won’t. Instead, I want to point out a few things that will make this match interesting.
|Photo courtesy Wisconsin Athletics|
1. Both teams play like winners.
2. Both teams keep the pressure on and don’t let up.
3. It’s going to be hard for the Nittany Lions to beat the Badgers three times in the same season.
4. Especially considering a national title is on the table in this third meeting.
5. Penn State is the best of the best..
6. Wisconsin has figured out how to beat the best of the best.
7. The Nittany Lions are probably the more talented squad from a volleyball ability standpoint.
8. The Badgers are a grittier team and play with a chip on their shoulders.
Despite Wisconsin’s awesome tournament run, Penn State has what it takes to win the title, but I will most definitely be rooting for the underdog. Because really, who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story?
My Pick: Penn State in four.