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Penn State regains volleyball crown

Nittany Lions win sixth national title and first since 2010 with four-set victory over underdog Wisconsin.

SEATTLE - There was determination behind the two straight aces Micha Hancock served to set up Penn State's four-set victory over scrappy Wisconsin.

"I didn't want to go to five," said the setter known for her powerful lefthanded jump serve. "I didn't think anyone did."

Hancock's second ace paved the way for Deja McClendon's match point, a soft hit over the net that fell unanswered and the second-seeded Nittany Lions defeated the Badgers, 3-1, Saturday night to win the NCAA championship.

Ariel Scott had 21 kills and Katie Slay added 14 in the 25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23 victory. It was Penn State's sixth NCAA volleyball championship and the team's first since a historic run of four straight from 2007-10.

The Nittany Lions (34-3) dogpiled as streamers rained down at Seattle's Key Arena. During the celebration, Wisconsin's players returned to the court to applaud the champions.

The 12th-seeded Badgers (28-10) were the lowest seed ever to make it to the final match.

McClendon finished with 11 kills for Penn State. Megan Courtney and Dominique Gonzalez each had 20 digs.

Wisconsin won the third set and strung together a key four-point run to go up 17-15 in the fourth. Ellen Chapman's ace made it 22-19, but a missed serve by Annemarie Hickey - who had injured a shoulder earlier in the set - hurt the Badgers. Hancock's ace narrowed it to 23-22, and Slay's kill down the middle evened it.

Hancock had another ace before McClendon's tap arced over the net and dropped untouched.

"Penn State has the biggest weapon in college volleyball in Hancock's serve," Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said.

Penn State, led by national coach of the year Russ Rose, swept Washington in the semifinals. Wisconsin downed top-ranked Texas.