TAMPA, Fla. - Penn State became the first team to win three straight volleyball titles Saturday night, overcoming a two-set deficit to beat Texas in five and extend its record winning streak to 102 straight games.
Megan Hodge led the Nittany Lions (38-0) with 21 kills, including the final one that touched off a wild celebration at midcourt.
''They just won three national championships in a row,'' Penn State coach Russ Rose said. ''Not a lot of people have done stuff like that. Our seniors just willed us to the win.''
Penn State's 22-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-13 win helped it stake a claim as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, volleyball team in NCAA history. And maybe one of the best college teams ever.
The winning streak is second in Division I team sports behind the Miami men's tennis program's 137 straight victories from 1957-64.
The Nittany Lions led 22-19 in the first set and were on the brink of going ahead early. Then Texas called timeout, regrouped and rallied for six straight points to put Penn State behind, an unfamiliar position during most of its incredible run.
The Nittany Lions had only lost six sets this season entering the final match, although one of those came in the semifinals against Hawaii, before dropping the first two to Texas.
But Penn State regained its serving prowess and cruised through the next two sets and had only a few miscues in the final set before closing out the Longhorns.
Destinee Hooker had a game-high 34 kills for Texas, which was trying to claim its first volleyball title since 1988.
But the Nittany Lions were just too much.
Penn State hasn't lost since falling to Stanford in September 2007.