First NCAA tournament loss since 2006. Incredible run.
Gals were swept by UCLA. but with everyone back next year, and 9 of our top ten for the next two years, they will be a force to be reckoned with for a while (I also understand they have two kids coming in next year who could start).
Absolutely, an incredible run. Inexperience did them in this year…but watch out next year and beyond.
On a better note (for me at least), the second half of my screen name beat Ohio State and has made it into the regional final to face the winner of Michigan/Florida tomorrow.
Unbelievable run and a great foundation for trying another.
Now Russ cam concentrate on hiring a FB coach. 8)
Seriously, absolutely amazing run.
Well, UCLA took down Texas 3-1, so the team that beat Penn State will be in the Final Four. Here’s what I posted on DigNittanyVolleyball.com:
It was inevitable at some point, but when it came, that didn’t make it less disappointing. For the first time in four years, the Pete family — Pete, Repeat, Threepeat, and Fourpeat — won’t be visiting in December. The #8-seed Penn State women’s volleyball team (25-8) dropped a 3-0 (20-25, 22-25, 21-25) match to #9-seed UCLA, ending the Nittany Lions’ string of 26 consecutive NCAA tournament match wins (an NCAA record) and its record four-consecutive NCAA titles.
On offense, at least statistically, Penn State played very much as it did all season, hitting .248 (coming into the match, their team attack % was .268). But the serve-receive game was below par (credit UCLA) — only two aces, with nine service errors. The Nittany Lions had 7.0 total team blocks.
6-5 Fr. OH Aiyana Whitney led the Nittany Lions with 12 kills (a .458 attack %), followed by 6-5 So. Opp/RS Ariel Scott’s 11 kills. 5-11 S Micha Hancock, the AVCA Mideast Region Freshman of the Year, totaled 38 assists, and 5-6 So. L Ali Longo led the team with 10 digs.
Obviously, this wasn’t the preferred outcome for Penn State (team, coaches, staff, fans, whomever). But we’re with Russ Rose, who in his post-match statement said “I’m a little disappointed with how we did some things tonight, but I’m not disappointed in the kids.”
Neither are we. We’ve been fans through the victories, and we’re fans now too. This year’s team gave us great enjoyment throughout the season. We appreciate their hard work and their dedication.
Thanks very much.
On the Assymetry of High Expectations
Before the match, RaymondLuxuryYacht had these observations about the season (we meant to post them earlier, but life has an annoying way of interfering). We think they’re worth a look:
This entire season, and much of last season, have been so filled with excitement (and anxiety) compared to the previous seasons, when Penn State had a legitimate chance to win every match (and in most matches was a strong favorite to win). In an odd way, though, the anxious tension of the past two years has really added something to the experience.
From 2007 – 2009, it was certainly fun to watch the Nittany Lions, but the emotional experience was assymetrical: the upside was not as far from the midline as the downside. A win was fun, but that was the expected outcome, whereas a loss would have been devastating.
Compare that to the USC match this year, where many Penn State fans (including me) expected Penn State to lose. When they confounded all of us, and pulled off the five-set comeback after going down 0-2, it was one of my more thrilling moments in Rec Hall to see them win. The home wins over Nebraska and Purdue this season were, to a lesser, but still significant extent, similar. And certainly the home losses to Oregon and Illinois were something the home crowd had not experienced in . . . a long time.
So . . . the matches have been more “fun” (for me) because PSU has had the opportunity to lose.
And last night they did lose. Which wasn’t fun. But let’s also remember that each season is a new team (perhaps stating the obvious, but worth remembering): this year’s Penn State team was a different team than the 2010 team, which was a different team from the 2009 team, and so on.
And let’s remember how young this team was — of the 11 players who played in more than half of the sets this season, none were seniors, one was a junior, five were sophomores, and five were freshmen (we’ve included individual team statistics, by category, at the end of this post).
That’s not an excuse for losing, nor is it intended to take anything away from UCLA, which outplayed Penn State and deserved the win. But it is a fact. It doesn’t lessen the disappointment. But it does provide some relevant context.
Here’s the url for the final Penn State team statistics and match stats: http://www.dignittanyvolleyball.com/2011/12/10/goodbye-pete-penn-state-falls-to-ucla-in-sweet-16/