Minnesota was on the verge of taking a commanding two sets to one advantage over Penn State in their quarterfinal match Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.
Then Ariel Scott subbed back in for the Lions.
The score was 25-24, in favor of Penn State, when Scott hammered home set point to give the Lions a 2-1 advantage.
That kill, however crucial it may have been, was only a small part of Scott’s dominant weekend in Indiana.
Scott paced the Lions’ attack against Minnesota with 25 kills, after posting 11 kills in their regional match with Kentucky the night before.
The Big Ten Player of Year pulled in yet another postseason award this weekend as she was named the West Lafayette Regional Championship MVP.
Scott was quick to credit her teammates for her performance, though.
“I definitely think we passed well in the second and third sets, which really helped us. When we pass well, we have a pretty good offense,” Scott said.
Despite racking up the kills, Scott collected a total of 11 hitting errors on the weekend and led the Lions in the dubious offensive statistic.
After Penn State’s match with Kentucky on Friday, Scott said she is going to work on keeping her error totals down as the tournament progresses.
“But we got the jitters out so I think we are okay with that,” Scott said. “We are usually pretty good at keeping our errors down. Serving and passing was really good today, so that helped me out a lot.”
Although the Lions were not pushed to a fifth set in either match this weekend, they played their first four-set match of the tournament against Kentucky, and struggled at times against a Minnesota team that took them to four sets as well.
Penn State will look to carry momentum from this past weekend into Louisville, where they will meet Oregon in the semifinals Thursday at 9 p.m.
The No. 5 Ducks beat Nebraska, 3-1, in their quarterfinal match in Omaha Saturday night.
Oregon beat a Huskers team that was able to defeat the Lions earlier this season in a five-set match, in Lincoln.
The Ducks finished second in the Pac-12, going 16-4 in conference and 29-4 overall.
Penn State is headed to their fifth Final Four in six seasons, while Oregon will play in its first Final Four match in school history.