Semifinals rewind, Hancock POY and other stuffs

Penn State senior setter Micha Hancock named AVCA National Player of the Year today. Here’s the link if you want to read more about her.

For those missing the scores from last night:
(Rankings are AVCA poll)
No. 4 Penn State def. No. 1 Stanford 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21
No. 12 BYU def. No. 6 Texas 25-23, 25-16, 17-25, 26-24
Stanford was seeded first, Texas second, Penn State fifth and BYU unseeded
As has been mentioned, it’s the first time an unseeded team has reach the finals.

two pretty entertaining matches. Really good defense and BYU’s block was impressive.

Hard to tell if that critical touch call at the end of BYU-Texas was correct but the up ref was right there and apparently she ‘heard’ the contact.

First time I had seen Robins-Hardy set this year. very nice job by a freshman in her second start on such a big stage. ESPN put up a very interesting graphic about her travels going back and forth for basketball and volleyball during the past few weeks.

Sounded like people had trouble watching online Thursday. is supposed to have a feed through their website. Championship match at 2:30 p.m. HST.

Much will depend if BYU can keep Penn State from scoring during the rotations where Gray (corrected from early ‘Macy’ is out. That was the biggest weakness I saw in the Cougars yesterday.

BYU coach Olmstead, named national COY earlier this week, addressed the issue of the non-Power 5 schools. Since we had a discussion about that this week, thought I’d pass along his comments from the press conference prior to the semifinals.

Q. BYU has broken multiple barriers in getting here. And one of those is you’re the only non-power 5 team to be here. At the lower regional level, some coaches are a little concerned about the divisiveness between this autonomy move of the power 5 and the other schools. Do you share that concern?
COACH OLMSTEAD: That’s a great question. And I do my best to follow that as it unfolds, because it’s a popular, very, very popular conversation and especially with the rumors of BYU being in the Big 12 country right now.
I’m not oblivious to that and just say no, that doesn’t exist. But I believe there’s things happening, and I hope that a sport like volleyball and with the wonderful opportunities it provides these young ladies that we really look long and hard at how we manage all that. Because I think there’s so much money around there trying to be moved around and pushed around.
And before you know it, the money I guess in life money always talks, but we’re allowing sometimes maybe it to do too much talking when I’m hearing of this program’s getting cut or that’s getting cut because the money’s gotta go to football and pump up football. And it’s a bummer for studentathletes like these girls, because I think that’s really, really important.


  1. blunite December 19, 2014 11:05 am

    Olmstead’s a worthy coach; although, he may have forgotten about Title 9 and its implications. Aloha Robins-Hardy, a 6′ All State setter that Hawaii lost, shows the world the volleyball talent that is Hawaii. Texas proves that talent is not enough, a knowledgeable coach is an integral component.

  2. Andrew December 19, 2014 11:30 am

    This should be a great match and I am very much looking forward to watching it. I am strongly rooting for BYU even though as a UH fan that is very tough. BYU winning would be great for all non-Power 5 schools.

    The one thing I am not looking forward to however is ESPN showing the whole Penn State championship repeat highlights over and over and over during the telecast.

  3. Kazu December 19, 2014 12:08 pm

    2. That’s why I was hoping Stanford would have beat Penn St. I’m going with the under dog BYU .

  4. islandman December 19, 2014 1:52 pm

    1. — BYU roster says she’s 6′ 2″ .

  5. Big Island VB fan December 19, 2014 2:26 pm

    Correction: it’s not Macy when rotating out that gives BYU problems, but Alexa Gray. Macy Gardner is in one of the Arizona universities.

    Although we root for BYU, Penn State is the prohibitive favorite. It would take a miracle for BYU to win and the coach would have to reshuffle his rotation so that Hamson and Gray never occupy the same row in any rotation.

    Also knew that Micha Hancock would win Player of the Year award. No surprise there. Jennifer Hamson was probably a very close second place candidate.

  6. warriorfan December 19, 2014 3:13 pm

    Well deserved, her serving makes a huge differene for PSU.

  7. Hapaguy December 19, 2014 3:38 pm

    blunite I always see you make comments (negative) about Title IX. Title IX is good legislation. What do you have against Title iX and what does Title IX have to do with the power conferences (BCS) conferences and the haves/have nots?

  8. Lanaiboy December 19, 2014 3:45 pm

    As I said in an earlier post, Texas scored points in bunches, a really bad rotation, when Alexa Gray is substituted out for a defensive specialist and Jennifer Hamson rotates to the back row. It would seem that BYU should ensure that one of them is always in the front row. However, when both are in the front row, opposing teams cannot triple block either of them. This makes both hitters that much more lethal. That is an opposing viewpoint. Again many have stated that BYU would be a super team if it had a third strong, offensive weapon.

  9. hatakeman December 19, 2014 4:09 pm

    Penn St has no weaknesses. Their digging is incredible and their setter, Micah Hancock, is awesome. That’s why she’s national POY. On the flip side, BYU has that rotation problem with Alexa Gray, but their blocking and Hamson might carry them. Should be a great match.

  10. warriorfan December 19, 2014 6:36 pm

    Don’t forget to watch Mckenna Granato play in the high school all american game tomorrow 1 pm on cbs sports 247. Looks like she started probably cause of her passing abilities.

  11. jmy December 19, 2014 7:17 pm

    I’m not rooting for BYU…I like Penn St. & I want them to win…If they have great talent & great coaching, more power to them…As someone has already said, it’s not just about getting the best players, the coaching has to be great too…

  12. tiffers December 19, 2014 8:17 pm

    8 – your point regarding having either Gray or Hamson always in the front row would be the easy choice, but that cannot happen as Gray is an OH and Hamson is an OPP/RS; so there will be times when none/one or both are in the front row.
    Now if they were both OHs then one would always be in the front row

  13. Cindy Luis December 20, 2014 7:13 am

    1. Title IX has nothing to do with what Olmstead said regarding power conferences.
    As mentioned on previous thread, Title IX is a law. There seems to be confusion between the law and the NCAA’s mandate of gender equity.
    But, again, neither has anything to do with the money the power conferences receive from football which trickles down to the other sports.

    Doubt very seriously that the ‘world’ doesn’t already know about the Hawaii volleyball talent. it dates back to the first Olympic volleyball teams of 1964.

    And don’t know what you have against Texas coach Elliott. Wasn’t he knowledgeable enough to win an NCAA title?

    6. thanks. it is Gray, not Macy, I was thinking of.

  14. blunite December 20, 2014 8:14 am

    “I’m hearing of this program’s getting cut or that’s getting cut because the money’s gotta go to football and pump up football. And it’s a bummer for studentathletes like these girls, because I think that’s really, really important.”

    For those who miss my point, BYU coach Olmstead’s inference from his quote above is that women’s programs may be negatively affected by football. Title IX prevents that (schools eliminating women’s programs willy-nilly.) Hence my comment that Olmstead may not have been aware of Title IX.

    The implication of my second point is that Aloha Hardy-Robins is better than Tayler Higgins, and if Shoji has realized that he would have offered her during her junior year at Kamehameha.

    For those who don’t know volleyball, UH beat Texas last season because Jerrod Elliot put his 2 All-American OHs on the left. Leaving his 3rd best hitter (5’11” Pilar Victoria) at opposite. UH’s Nikki Taylor was at opposite and shut down both Texas All Americans (6 solo blocks to go with multiple block assists) in the 4th and final set. Had the Texas passing/setting been on point they still might have changed the outcome; however, if Eckerman or Webster were at opposite the result would surely have been different.

  15. karin December 20, 2014 10:16 am

    10. From a VT blogger who attended the match—- West won all 3 sets easily and also rated Granato as the best in her position RS, on the team.

  16. warriorfan December 20, 2014 10:53 am

    Granato played RS? That’s interesting, since I thought she was mostly left.
    Can’t wait to see this high school all american game at 1.

  17. Not an Expert December 20, 2014 12:16 pm

    Where improvement is needed next year, is defense starting with the libero. Next setter who can be consistent and give her hitters the best possible set. No excuse for not turning a majority of bad passes to hittable balls. That is what a great setter does. Coaching needs to change its game strategy. Tweaking of the offensive coaching strategies.

  18. blunite December 20, 2014 12:52 pm

    @Warriorfan, Unfortunately, even “All-Star” coaches need to keep abreast of volleyball theory and practice. Granato belongs on the left, not the right. At 5’10” she would have a hard time shutting down 6’4″ opposing hitters. Blocking is crucial at opposite because shutting down the opponent’s left side pretty much decides the contest. That said, the opposite (should) always get(s) a good set (5′-7′ set) versus the 20′ sets to the left.

  19. warriorfan December 20, 2014 1:48 pm

    Granato, is playing well, the east team is very poor. their setters and passing is really bad.

  20. Brandon December 20, 2014 2:20 pm

    Granato is amazing. She deserves to start with the way she’s playing. I know Dave probably won’t, but I can easily see her taking TAIS spot.

  21. vballfreak808 December 20, 2014 2:30 pm

    Granato did play well. She went 9-0-11 in two sets. Playing as a six rotation opposite in the second set collecting five kills and two digs. Then play as a three rotation opposite in a 6-2 in the third getting four kills and a dig. It is hard to say where she stands when she gets to UH but it showed that she takes advantage of opponents when they are struggling. Also wonder how she would have played if she played at outside.

  22. Cindy Luis December 20, 2014 2:34 pm

    20. think it best to see what happens in fall camp. there’s going to be major fights for starting spots and that’s when those will be earned … next year. Granato played well in a high school all-star game. Mitchem played well at the JC level. have to wait to see how the transition to DI will be.

  23. Cindy Luis December 20, 2014 2:36 pm

    7. thanks. sadly it’s become more like the haves and never-will-haves.

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