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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (Dec. 8, 2007) - The No. 17 BYU women's volleyball team saw its season come to an end Saturday in the NCAA Tournament Regional Championship. The Cougars were one of just eight teams in the country still playing for an NCAA title until being swept at No. 1 Penn State, 30-23, 30-15, 30-18. BYU finished the season 24-8 overall after advancing to the round of eight for the first time since 1998.
"This has been a wonderful run for our program and for me personally in just my third year as a head coach," said BYU head coach Jason Watson, who is now 74-18 overall at the conclusion of his third season. "I'm very proud of everyone in our program. It's unfortunate that it has to end, but I'm very proud of what we've been able to accomplish this year."
The match was the end of the road for five Cougar seniors as Chelsea Goodman, Erica Lott, Annie Pinegar, Catherine Parker and Jenna Judkins made their final appearance in a BYU uniform.
Goodman led the Cougars with 13 kills on the night, hitting .303 in the process. She finished the year recording double-digit winners in every match she played in this season. Junior Bryn Porter posted 10 kills. Goodman and juniors Rachel Dyer and Amy Schlauder were named to the Regional All-Tournament Team, the first time in program history three Cougars have received that honor. Penn State had three players each tally 12 kills, including All-Tournament selections Nicole Fawcett, Christa Harmotto and Arielle Wilson, who was named the Regionals Most Outstanding Player.
"We have played some very goods teams this year, including Wisconsin, Stanford and Washington, but Penn State is by quite easily the best team we've played," said Watson. "They are very deserving of their ranking. We hope they go win the National Championship; they're that caliber of a team."
BYU had an early 4-2 lead in game one with both Nittany Lion points coming on Cougar service errors until three straight PSU kills put the home team in front 5-4. Both teams settled down from there, trading points until a kill from Porter and a block by Goodman and Dyer put BYU up 10-9. However, four straight Lion points gave them their biggest lead of the night to that point at 13-10. Erica Lott ended the run with a deep kill, but Penn State pushed the lead to 22-17 in the game. BYU never recovered, falling 30-23.
After three straight PSU points to begin game two, Porter put down her fifth kill of the night to get BYU on the board followed by a lift call on the Lions to make the score 3-2. However, the Cougars couldn't anything going on either side of the ball against the Lions after a 6-0 PSU run as the lead grew to 20-6. Finally, Ashton Hansen found a hole in the PSU block and put down a kill that began a 4-0 Cougar spurt to cut the lead to 10 points. But the Nittany Lion advantage proved insurmountable as BYU fell 30-15.
Game three began with a battle as the Cougars regained their composure and refused to let PSU pull away. However, a 10-9 Lion lead quickly became 16-10 after a 6-1 run. BYU tried to fight back with kills from Lott, Hansen, Goodman and Porter to cut the lead to four points at 19-15, but Penn State showed why it is the nation's top team with a 6-0 run to put BYU away for good.