They Might Be Giants (Volleyball Edition)

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

They Might Be (Volleyball) Giants?

In  early May, Jack Hamann of Volleyblog Seattle, began a post about the September 14th match between the University of Washington and Penn State University, with this statement:

Two volleyball giants—Washington and Penn State—will square off this September in State College, Pennsylvania.

That elicited some pushback in the blogosphere — what makes a team a volleyball giant? Given that Washington and Penn State are two of only six teams that have won NCAA Division I women’s volleyball titles in the 2000s, we thought both qualified as “volleyball giants.”

Jack Hamann took the question a step further in a May 16th post on Volleyblog Seattle: “Who are volleyball’s giants?”  Hamann explained:

I soon heard back from a reader who disagreed. Without offering his/her own list, the reader thought the Huskies do not deserve to be mentioned among volleyball’s elite.

Realizing I had lauded Washington based on gut reaction rather than research, I decided to crunch some numbers to see if my description was justified.

And so, I checked data from the past ten years, and came up with my own ranking of Division 1 women’s volleyball top ten over the past decade. I then tried to cobble a list of those who might deserve to be in the next ten—not quite giants.

Hamann put together a chart, which you can see by Clicking Here, ranking teams on the basis of National Championships, Final Four appearances, Elite Eights, wins and losses, and winning percentage.  It’s an interesting list, and worth a look.

After you do (or before you do — we always say, why get bogged down with facts!) vote below on who you think are the NCAA Division 1 volleyball giants.  For some perspective, take a look at the table that follows the poll (and for some inspiration, take a look at the video that precedes it):

[poll id=”5″]

Won-Lost Records (Matches and Sets): Final Four Teams from 1998 to 2011

YearTeamConferenceNCAA FinishWins (Matches)Losses (Matches)Wins (Sets)Losses (Sets)
2008Penn StateBig TenFirst3801142
2009Penn StateBig TenFirst3801148
1998Long Beach Big WestFirst3601088
2003USC Pac 10First3501058
2000NebraskaBig 12First34010213
1999Penn State Big TenFirst36111015
2006Nebraska Big 12First33110114
2005WashingtonPac 10First3219810
2002USC Pac 10First3119512
2007Penn State Big TenFirst34210418
2001Stanford Pac 10First33210121
2010Penn StateBig TenFirst32510320
2011UCLA Pac 12First3069731
2004Stanford Pac 10First3069835
2001Long Beach Big WestSecond331NANA
1998Penn StateBig TenSecond3411046
2005Nebraska Big 12Second33210115
2009TexasBig 12Second2929113
2007Stanford Pac 10Second32310124
1999Stanford Pac 10Second3139518
2000WisconsinBig TenSecond334NANA
2008Stanford Pac 10Second3149523
2006Stanford Pac 10Second3049219
2010CaliforniaPac 10Second3049523
2011IllinoisBig TenSecond32510043
2004MinnesotaBig TenSecond33510534
2002Stanford Pac 10Second32510227
1998Nebraska Big 12Semi-finals3229916
2001Nebraska Big 12Semi-finals3129414
1999PacificBig WestSemi-finals323NANA
2008Nebraska Big 12Semi-finals3139721
2000USCPac 10Semi-finals2938720
2004WashingtonPac 10Semi-finals2838923
2006UCLAPac 10Semi-finals33410424
1999Long Beach Big WestSemi-finals3149523
2008TexasBig 12Semi-finals2949424
2011USCPac 12Semi-finals2959125
2006WashingtonPac 10Semi-finals2959226
2007USC Pac 10Semi-finals2959135
2005Santa ClaraWCCSemi-finals2758830
2001ArizonaPac 10Semi-finals2557925
2010USCPac 10Semi Finals2969136
2010TexasBig 12Semi Finals2768434
2004USC Pac 10Semi-finals2367632
2011Florida StateACCSemi-finals2879039
2007CaliforniaPac 10Semi-finals2688736
2009MinnesotaBig TenSemi-finals2898841
2003MinnesotaBig TenSemi-finals26118549