How NCAA Women’s Volleyball Final Four Teams Stack Up: 1998 to 2015

In 2009, the Nittany Lions came close to perfection
In 2008, the Nittany Lions came close to perfection

2015 was a different kind of season for the Penn State Women’s Volleyball team:  It didn’t win the NCAA title (for that matter, the Nittany Lions didn’t make it to the Regional Finals).  Some Penn State fans were edging towards the cliffs.  That’s what happens when you win six NCAA Championships in eight seasons (prior to 2015).

Maintaining the level of success that the Nittany Lions have enjoyed over close to a decade is somewhere between incredibly difficult and impossible.  Just ask all of the other 300+ women’s volleyball programs, none of whom have won more than two consecutive NCAA titles (Penn State won four in a row from 2007 through 2010, and then won back-to-back in 2013 and 2014).

Six championships in nine years is astonishing — but it’s not perfection.  Perfection in sports is rare. The Nittany Lions came close in 2008, going 38-0 and dropping only two sets all season (those two coming in the classic NCAA Semifinal match against Nebraska in Omaha), en route to winning a second consecutive NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball National Championship.

In 2009, Penn State extended its streak of consecutive sets without a loss to 141, before losing a set to Iowa at Rec Hall on October 2nd, followed by another dropped set on October 7th, (this time to Ohio State), and then two more against Michigan on October 16th, and ended with a 2009 total of eight sets lost.  The 2009 Penn State team ended its season with a third consecutive NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball National Championship.

Since then, there’s been lots of talk about parity.  We think it’s more than just talk. We’ve compiled a table showing the records of all the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Final Four teams from 1998 on — total wins, total losses, sets won, and sets lost.  Nebraska — the 2015 champion — had a very, very strong team.  Yet they dropped 27 sets during the season — the third highest total for any champion during the period from 1998 to 2015 (Stanford, the champion in 2004, dropped 34, followed by UCLA in 2011, which dropped 31.)  Only four NCAA Champions in this period have dropped fewer than 10 sets in their Championship season (Penn State with a 114-2 record in 2008, Penn State with a 114-8 record in 2009, Long Beach State at 108-8 in 1998, and USC at 105-8 in 2003). The most sets lost by a Final Four team through 2015? Wisconsin’s 2013 Finalist, with 53.

Take a look at the table below and decide for yourself (if you click on a team logo, the link takes you straight to the team’s website).

If you find an error . . .

We'll feel sheepish, but tell us if we made mistakes
We’ll feel sheepish, but tell us if you find an error in our statistics.

A final note. We tried our best to ensure that these statistics are accurate, but to err is human, and we are decidedly human, so if sharp-eyed readers notice any mistakes in this table, please let us know. We’ll be very grateful.






Wins & Losses (Matches and Sets): Final Four Teams from 1998 to 2015 (Click team logos for more team info)

2015FinalsBig 123039123
Big 123039320
2015SemiGolden Gophers logoB1G3059732
2014ChampPenn State

2014FinalsBYU LogoWCC3059526
2014SemiPac 1233210127
2014SemiBig 122738421
2013ChampPenn State

2013FinalsOn Wisconsin? B1G28109453
2013SemiWashingtonPac 123039128
2013SemiBig 122738330
2012ChampBig 123149823
2012FinalsOregon DuckPac 123059629
2012SemiPenn State

2011ChampPac 123069731
2011FinalsOr Illini? B1G32510043
2011SemiPac 122959125
2010ChampPenn State

2010Finals500px-University_of_California,_Berkeley_athletic_logo_svgPac 123049523
2010SemiBig 122868934
2010SemiPac 122959136
2009ChampPenn State

2009FinalsBig 122929113
2009SemiGolden Gophers logoB1G2898841
2008ChampPenn State

2008FinalsPac 103149523
2008SemiNebraskaBig 123139721
2008SemiBig 122949424
2007ChampPenn State

2007FinalsPac 1032310124
2007Semi500px-University_of_California,_Berkeley_athletic_logo_svgPac 102688736
2007SemiPac 102959135
2006ChampNebraskaBig 1233110114
2006FinalsPac 103049219
2006SemiPac 1033410424
2006SemiWashingtonPac 102959226
2005ChampWashingtonPac 103219810
2005FinalsNebraskaBig 1233210115
2005SemiSanta ClaraWCC2758830
2004ChampPac 103069835
2004FinalsGolden Gophers logoB1G33510534
2004SemiWashingtonPac 102838923
2004SemiPac 102367632
2003ChampPac 1035010508
2003FinalsFlorida GatorsSEC36210908
2003SemiGolden Gophers logoB1G26118549
2002ChampPac 103119512
2002FinalsPac 1032510227
2002SemiFlorida GatorsSEC34310517
2001ChampPac 1033210121
2001FinalsLong Beach StateBig West331NANA
2001SemiNebraskaBig 123129414
2001SemiArizonaPac 102557925
2000ChampNebraskaBig 1234010213
2000FinalsOn Wisconsin? B1G33410521
2000SemiPac 102938720
1999ChampPenn State

1999FinalsPac 103139518
1999SemiPacificBig West323NANA
1999SemiLong Beach StateBig West3149523
1998ChampLong Beach StateBig West36010808
1998FinalsPenn State

1998SemiNebraskaBig 123229916
1998SemiFlorida GatorsSEC35310724