The No. 1 Nittany Lions (33-2) advance to the NCAA national semifinals after defeating the Golden Gophers 3-1 in the Elite 8. En route to the victory (25-19, 19-25, 26-25, 25-20), the Lions’ dropped their first set of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, but are now scheduled for a matchup against No. 5 Oregon on Thursday night in Louisville, Ky.
With the win, the Lions swept the Gophers this season, winning all three contests while only dropping two sets. Their appearance Thursday will mark the fifth time the program has reached the national semifinals in the past six seasons. During that span, the Lions have won the national title every time they have reached the Final Four (2007-2010).
Leading the way for the squad in their victory over the Gophers was junior right side Ariel Scott. She accounted for a match-high 25 kills and fell short of tying her career mark by two kills.
Micha Hancock, Megan Courtney and Deja McClendon all recorded double-doubles. Hancock had 46 assists and 13 digs, Courtney recorded 11 kills and 10 digs, while McClendon added 14 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore libero Dominique Gonzalez had seven assists to go along with her match-high 20 digs.
The Lions, as a unit, hit .237 on the night, while the Gophers were held to .177. Each squad accounted for 14.0 total team blocks and combined for 314 total attacks in the match.
Looking ahead, the Lions are 1-1 on the season against the Pac-12 and are 1-1 all-time against the Ducks. Last season the Lions suffered a 3-1 loss to the quack attack in late August.
Currently the Lions are riding a 12-game win streak and have only dropped three sets in that span.