And then there were four. The 2017 D1 Women’s Volleyball Championship has been narrowed down to Penn State, Nebraska, Florida and Stanford, who will battle it out for a national title in Kansas City this weekend. This will mark the fifth year in a row that either the Nittany Lions (2013 and ’14 champs), Cornhuskers (2015 champs) or Cardinal (2016 champs) will win it all, while the Gators, who are ranked second in the country, are vying for their first title in school history.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch:
Live Stream Info
The semifinals and national championship will be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2 (full schedule can be found below). That means you can watch a live stream via WatchESPN if you have a cable log-in, but if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the games online, on your phone or on another streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch both semis and the national title for free:
DirecTV Now: ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 are included in all four channel packages. It comes with a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get $25 off your first month if you enter promo code “BDAY2017”. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 are all included in the “Sling Orange” package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here. You can watch on your computer via the Sling website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
PlayStation Vue: ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 are part of every bundle. You can sign up for a free 5-day trial right here. You can watch on your computer via the PS Vue website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the PlayStation Vue app
Also note: You can also watch on your computer via the WatchESPN website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. When you’re asked to verify your cable provider, you’ll just use your DirecTV Now, Sling TV or PS Vue credentials to sign in
Semifinal: Penn State vs Nebraska | Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
Semifinal: Florida vs Stanford | Thursday, Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. ET | ESPN
National Championship: Saturday, Dec. 16 at 9 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Penn State head coach Russ Rose has built a long-lasting dynasty in State College, leading the Nittany Lions to an absurd six national titles in the last 10 years and seven championships overall. Now ranked No. 1 in the county and sitting at 33-1 after rolling through the first four rounds of the tournament, Penn State looks set to add another piece of hardware to the trophy case.
Only one problem: Nebraska is often the only team that gives Penn State problems. The Cornhuskers handed Penn State its only loss of the season back in September, strolling to a shockingly simple 26-24, 25-19, 25-20 straight-set victory to improve their all-time record against the Lions to 20-10. Nebraska is also 7-3 against Penn State in the tournament, though it’s worth noting nine of those matchups have been in the state of Nebraska.
Over in the other semifinal, Stanford will not only continue their bid to repeat as national champions, but they look to continue the impressive run of success for Cardinal athletics in general, as both the men’s and women’s soccer team captured national titles over the last week. The Cardinal have lost three games this season, but two of those came against Penn State, and they’re coming off impressive wins over Colorado State, Wisconsin and Texas.
The Cardinal will now have to get past Florida, whose only loss this season came against Kentucky back in mid-October. Since that game, they’ve won 15 in a row–including a 3-0 drubbing in a rematch against the Wildcats–and looked really strong along the way. Head coach Mary Wise is making her eighth national semifinal appearance in 27 years with Florida, but a championship still alludes her. If she ends that drought, she’ll certainly have earned it with the defending national champions and then either Penn State or Nebraska standing in her way.
Put it all together, and you have the makings for a thoroughly entertaining Final Four.