Evans City native part of top-seeded PSU women's volleyball
College Football Videos
Lara Caraway can't help but look up to her older teammates on the Penn State women's volleyball team.
At only 5-foot-4, the freshman defensive specialist from Evans City ranks as the smallest player on the team, more than a foot shorter than some teammates.
“I've always been really short,” said Caraway, who was home-schooled but played for Mars, “so I get used to looking up.”
But the team's pedigree of success is another reason for admiration. The Nittany Lions won nine Big Ten titles in the past 10 seasons and four consecutive national championships from 2007-10. Penn State, along with Stanford, are the only teams to play in every NCAA Tournament since it began in 1981.
The Nittany Lions (31-2) will look to add to that legacy in the NCAA regional semifinals when they face 16th-seeded Kentucky (22-10) at 5 p.m. Friday in West Lafayette, Ind. The winner advances to the regional final to face the Purdue/Minnesota winner at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Last season, Penn State lost to UCLA in three sets in the NCAA regional semis. Caraway said her teammates rarely talk about what happened, instead looking forward.
“We always say that we're not the same team that we were last year, that we're a new team,” she said. “And it's a new beginning, and we're going to do it with this group this year.”
There's a sense of urgency for the team to ascend back to the top of college volleyball, but it comes from within, not from the ghosts of the past.
“Everyone really wants it bad,” Caraway said. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we want to do it.”
Penn State was No. 1 in the country at the end of the regular season and earned the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions were upset by Oregon State, a team that didn't make the NCAA tournament, on Sept. 8 at the Chicago Classic and lost Oct. 28 at Nebraska. Since then, it's been 10 wins in a row, while only losing two sets.
“I think that we've played really well so far. I feel like as long as we keep playing well, hopefully we'll reach our potential by the end,” Caraway said. “I think we're close, but I think there's always room for improvement.”
Mike Palm is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pens get physical, trade Goc for Blues’ Lapierre
- Pirates trade Snider to Orioles for minor league pitcher
- Pennsylvania shale gas producers received hundreds of environmental citations in 4 years, PennEnvironment says
- No cross-checking here: Penguins misspell ‘Sidney’
- Winfield man is one of a few to attend all 49 Super Bowl games
- Blawnox couple jailed in woman’s alleged abuse of boyfriend’s child
- Now a Patriot, RB Blount’s thrilled to have moved on from Steelers
- Letang produces 5 assists in return as Penguins defeat Jets, 5-3
- Ex-Steelers QB Batch creates sports medicine startup at Pitt
- Heyl: The Strange Case of Mayor Peduto and ‘Undercover’ Mr. Chadwick
- Penn Hills water main break creates car-swallowing sinkhole