FanPost

Thanks to the BON'er community from a very grateful PHF


The Gazelles made me proud tonight, battling the best team in NCAA volleyball history to what amounted to a draw, trading punches until the very end of a remarkable 5-set championship match.  Think Federer vs. Nadal at Wimbledon two years ago.  Two superb teams, two remarkable sets of athletes going toe to toe, no one giving an inch.  Give credit to the Nittany Lions for not hitting the panic button after going down 0-2 for the first time during their remarkable 102-match win streak.  It's a cliche to say, but it was certainly a shame for one of the teams to have to lose. My thanks to the Gazelles and Coach Elliot for the most spectacular season I've lived through since I became a fan of the sport.

But I have to add to this my thanks to the entire BON'er community for the outpouring of support last night.  It's not often we have 1000-comment posts for any sport, but this was by far the most comments, the best contribution for any volleyball event since BON began.  I couldn't be more proud! Thanks to all of you for rooting the team on, for your positive comments, for giving my favorite sport a chance.  I hope a whole new set of volleyball fans was born tonight.

So someone did have to lose, and despite the strong start, the Gazelles fell in 5, 22-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-13.  Fan favorite Destinee Hooker was named the Most Oustanding Player of the tournament after logging a match-high 34 kils on the night.  Great way for this, the best recruiting class of Coach Elliot's short career, to finish up, but damn I would have loved to see them hoist that trophy!

Yes, the Gazelles are in an all too familar position today.

For the Texas Longhorns, the feeling -- and the scoreboard -- were all too familiar: The two-set lead in a women's volleyball tournament environs; the one-set-away-from-victory mentality; and the reminder that, like their loss to Stanford last year in an NCAA tournament semifinal, even an early lead doesn't guarantee a win.

They also lost to Penn State in Gregory Gym in 2006 after leading 2-0.

ESPN recap and video highlights here. You can watch a replay of the entire match on espn360.com if you're a member.

It was one of the smallest people on the court who turned the momentum.

Junior libero Alyssa D'Errico, too, saved many Hooker shots from another marker in the kill column.

"I think D'Errico doesn't get a lot of credit," Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. "The kid's a fighter, She has a tremendous amount of passion and she kind of willed them to get on the road to competing."

Texassports.com has their version here.

Penn State sports site celebrates the title here.

Tempest has been in Tampa all weekend, so I hope he will chip in with his comments on the atmosphere, and on the championship game himself.  I'm sure there must have been a pivotal point in the match where it slipped away from the Gazelles. But this indeed was a special season with a special team.  I will miss Ashley and Heather and most especially Destinee, who deserves to have her jersey retired.  Truly one of the most special athletes to ever grace the 40 Acres.  A hat tip to these amazing seniors, and another to the entire BON community.  What a great day to be a Horn!

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