November 16, 2009
Posted by Steve Jones
Penn State women’s volleyball has set a standard of excellence in college sports not seen since the days of North Carolina women’s soccer and UCLA basketball.
Last weekend fifth ranked Illinois rolled into town confident and ready. They had played Penn State tough in Champagne.
When Friday night was finished Penn State had once again won in three straight. Northwestern needed a signature win to make the NCAA. Northwestern is a program on the rise but when it was done Penn State won in three straight.
The fans responded over the weekend as the two matches drew a total of 10, 000 fans to Rec Hall including standing room only on Saturday.
With 92 straight wins they have gone by UCLA basketball and equaled the streak of North Carolina women’s soccer. They try to surpass that mark Friday night at Purdue.
Megan Hodge has received every award except one…national player of the year. She seems to have the inside track. Alisha Glass is the top setter in the country. They have great balance with Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson. It is a true team with virtually everyone making a contribution.
The constant has been Russ Rose. From the beginning he has built an outstanding program. In the early years in the Atlantic Ten he had a series of outstanding teams that could not get the recognition they deserved because of being in the Atlantic Ten and in the east. The move to the Big Ten finally opened the door to that recognition. The 1999 national title told everyone else what everyone here already knew…Russ Rose had built a great program.
He has kept them at or near the top nationally by going about his business his way. He knows how to motivate, push, recruit, scout and focus. It can be argued he is the best coach in the nation regardless of sport. His team has won 92 in a row and the have done so with a target on their back every single time. Each time…they have responded.
The toughest road is on the horizon but so far…no one has done it any better.
Author: Steve Jones
Bio: Penn State Sports play-by-play announcer. Check for Steve's posts each week.
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