Dec. 19, 2008


*This is the first time in the 28-year history of NCAA Women’s Division I Volleyball that the same two teams have met two years in a row for the NCAA Title—Penn State beat Stanford in five games in 2007 in the first all-rally scoring final in NCAA history.

*Stanford’s 5-game come from behind victory over Texas was the first time in 28 years that a team rallied from two sets down to win in five sets in the NCAA Semi-Finals.   Only Hawaii in 1982 (over USC) and UCLA in 1991 (over Long Beach State) have ever rallied from two sets down in the NCAA Title match.

*This is Penn State’s third try at finishing a season unbeaten.   The closest was in 1998 when Penn State lost to unbeaten Long Beach State (only time two unbeatens have played for the NCAA Title) after being up 8-3 at the side change in game 5 in rally scoring.  Penn State was also unbeaten in 1990 when it lost in the Regional Finals to Nebraska.

*Stanford is 2-0 in the NCAA Finals vs. unbeaten teams.  The Cardinal beat unbeaten UCLA in 1992 and unbeaten Long Beach State in 2001 (John Dunning’s first season at Stanford).   Stanford will try for 3-0 in the finals vs. unbeaten teams vs. Penn State on Saturday night.

*Stanford is the third team in NCAA history to ever make three straight championship matches.  UCLA won in 1990 and 1991 and lost in 1992 to Stanford.   Penn State lost to Stanford in 1997 and Long Beach in 1998 before beating Stanford in 1999 (Russ Rose the coach of all 3 teams).  Now Stanford is in its third straight NCAA Final after losing in Omaha to Nebraska in 2006 and Penn State last year in 2007. 

*1995 was the only previous year in the 28-year history where both semi-finals went 5 sets. Nebraska beat Michigan State in 5 sets and Texas beat defending champion Stanford in 5 sets.  Nebraska beat Texas in 4 sets for its first title.

*John Dunning, who is tied with 4 NCAA Titles with former Stanford coach Don Shaw, can break the all-time coaching record for NCAA’s won by beating Penn State.  If Russ Rose wins, he will tie for third place with 3 titles with legendary coaches Andy Banachowski of UCLA; Dave Shoji of Hawaii; Mick Haley of Texas/USC and Brian Gimmillaro of Long Beach State.

*Penn State can join 1984 UCLA and 1997 Stanford as the only schools to win NCAA titles in men’s and women’s volleyball in the same calendar year.  Only Stanford and Penn State have won in the same academic year.

*If Penn State wins, the Nittany Lions will be the 6th program to ever win back to back volleyball titles, joining Hawaii (82, 83), Pacific (85, 86), UCLA (90, 91), Stanford (96, 97) and USC (02, 03).  

*Stanford is only 6-7 in NCAA Title matches.  However when the Cardinal win set one in the NCAA Finals the Cardinal are 6-2 (only losses in 85 to UOP and 06 to Nebraska), but 0-5 when they don’t when set one.  Both times Penn State beat Stanford for the NCAA titles (99, 07), PSU won set one.  Penn State is 2-3 in title matches (lost in the 93, 97, 98 NCAA Finals and lost set one in all 3 of the losses).

*Since the 2004 NCAA playoffs, Penn State is 18-0 when it wins set one and 0-3 when it doesn’t.  Since 1992, Stanford is 57-3 (95%) when it wins set one in the NCAA Tournament.