On the Road Again (Lions Poised to Break NCAA Record)

“UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. November 19, 2009. The top-ranked Penn State women’s volleyball team heads on its final regular season road trip this weekend to Purdue and Indiana. The Nittany Lions face the Boilermakers at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, followed by the Hoosiers on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.”

“With a 3-0 victory against Northwestern on Nov. 14, the Nittany Lions reached their 92nd consecutive win to tie with the North Carolina women’s soccer team (1990-94) for the second longest NCAA Division I winning streak. More than 5,300 loyal Penn State fans were on hand for the win. A win on Friday at Purdue would give Penn State at least a share of the 2009 Big Ten title. Should the Nittany Lions win on Saturday, as well, Penn State would clinch its seventh consecutive outright Big Ten title and its 13th overall.”

[Editors Note: You can find links to GameTracker (and the Big Ten Network Live Stream — there’s a fee) for both matches in the right-hand column on this page.]

(For the complete release from gopsusports.com, Click Here.)

Setting the Broken Records Straight

A few things spring to mind from the Penn State release. First, good luck Nittany Lions! You’re on the road again, and what a great trip it’s been so far this season! Thanks!

Second, in its own subtle way, without actually coming out and saying it, gopsusports is letting us know that if Penn State wins on Friday, the win will be its 93rd in a row, and it will set the all-time record for the longest NCAA Division I women’s team sport winning streak, passing the streak of 92 consecutive wins set by the North Carolina women’s soccer team (1990-94).

And, a point that is not addressed by the NCAA, Penn State will hold the all-time consecutive wins record for both men’s and women’s team “single-score” sports — like volleyball, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, and football, where the whole team (whatever number of players are permitted) are all on the court (or field, or ice) at the same time, as opposed to “aggregate-score” team competitions, like golf, tennis, and wrestling, where individual (or pairs of) team members compete against one another, and scores from these individual competitions are aggregated to determine the total team score.

Finally, if one mushes together both single-score and aggregate-score team sports, the Penn State streak will be second to the streak of 137 straight matches held by the Miami (Fla.) men’s tennis team — an aggregate score team sport — compiled from 1957-1964.

Regardless of how you look at it, it’s a great accomplishment — although the Penn State staff and players (and gopsusports) obviously recognize that it really has nothing to do with the season’s goal of winning the NCAA title, and are downplaying it. As Head Coach Russ Rose said in an interview with Bill Landis of the Daily Collegian: “I’m not looking at winning the Big Ten as the goal for the weekend, I’m looking at us getting better and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”

But we’re fans, so we’re talking about it now, and if they win on Friday (which we think they will) we’ll be saying “Great Job!” to this year’s team, and the 2007 and 2008 teams that contributed alot of those wins to the streak.