TAMPA, Fla. - Penn State's players jogged back to the bench down one set, their record winning streak in doubt, their run at an unprecedented third straight NCAA volleyball title in question.
They huddled amid a silenced arena.
"We just kind of talked about having each other's backs," middle blocker Arielle Wilson said, "and about playing to our potential."
They quickly did so.
Penn State moved to within one win of the national championship by beating Hawaii, 23-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-18, on Thursday night.
The Nittany Lions (37-0) overcome a sluggish start and dropped only their sixth set of the season before extending their winning streak to 101 matches, an NCAA record for women's volleyball.
The victory was also coach Russ Rose's 1,000th.
Penn State will face Texas tonight. The Longhorns swept Minnesota, 25-19, 25-20, 25-15, in the other semifinal.
Hawaii was hardly intimidated by one of the best runs in college sports history. The Rainbow Wahine (32-3) built a big cushion in the first set and never wavered, leaving an arena packed with Penn State fans stunned.
"It was our job to step up to the plate and give it everything we had, but they really had fresh legs the whole game," Hawaii outside hitter Kanani Danielson said.
In Division I team sports, the 101-match streak is second to the Miami men's tennis team's 137 straight wins from 1957 to '64. The Nittany Lions haven't lost since falling to Stanford in September 2007.