—were hanging out, nearly alone as the night progressed, at Buffalo Wild Wings last night from 7:30 to 11:30, watching the NCAA semi-final matches in Seattle on the big screen.
Not too hard to figure out: John and Cricket from MPO.
Both matches were fascinating, but let me start with a comment I’ve made before. It’s clear, as Kerri Walsh Jennings said during an ESPN interview between points, that volleyball is the preeminent women’s sport. It is the only team sport in which more people watch women’s matches than men’s.
Consider the attendance, last spring, of the NCAA men’s final, between UC Irvine and BYU. It set a record for attendance at a neutral site, of 6,295 people. That was for a final match. Last night, in the women’s semi-finals, the attendance at Seattle’s KeyArena was 14,975.
The women play a better game! It’s more nuanced, less pure power. There is great defense, there are dramatic saves, many subtleties. Hey, the crowds have voted, and it is women’s volleyball that we follow.
So how did they do last night? Of the four teams, there were #1 seed Texas, #2 Penn State, #3 Washington, and #12 Wisconsin.
Wisconsin, as they took on Texas, had a new coach (only last year he was coaching the Dayton Flyers) and a freshman setter, Lauren Carlini. Here she is on the floor after the match:
A dramatic, fabulous victory for Wisconsin, the clear underdog now going to the finals.
Penn State was more subdued after their victory. After all, they throttled Washington 25-14, 25-13, 25-16.
It should be a great finals match on Saturday night.