Monday, December 22, 2008
The Penn State women’s volleyball team won their second consecutive national championship this weekend, capping off a 38-0 season—only the fourth undefeated season in NCAA Division I history. They defeated perennial power Stanford in the final, in straight sets. But that’s not what’s so impressive. What’s so impressive is that until they lost the third and fourth sets against Nebraska in the semifinal, they had won one hundred and eleven consecutive sets this season. And Nebraska was basically playing a home game:
Heading into its match with Penn State, Nebraska had won 96 consecutive matches in its home state and had never lost at Qwest Center Omaha. Thursday’s match was played in front of a record crowd of 17,430, the majority of which was decked out in red.
Penn State dominated the first two sets, extending its NCAA record streak to 111 consecutive sets won. But the Huskers snapped the streak by winning the next two sets and took a 10-8 lead in the fifth set. A block by All-America setter Alicia Glass ignited a 7-1 run that propelled PSU past Nebraska.
I can’t even think of an achievement in team sports that’s comparable to winning 111 consecutive volleyball sets. Unless you count the Brooklyn Superbas’ pennant-winning season in 1899 when they went 147-1 . . . oh no, wait, I read that wrong.
Really, has such a thing ever been done in any sport ever? This is a real question. Because I watched the finals at a party Saturday night with about 40 or 50 other people, and we couldn’t come up with anything.