The past eight years have shown that volleyball is a momentum game and rankings don’t necessarily show off a team’s overall worth. Since 2009, #1 seeds have been downed by their competition in the NCAA Volleyball tournament with few even making it to the finals. Penn State was the last team to accomplish this feat as they took the title as the #1 seed in 2009 after completing a perfect 38-0 season.
This was year three of four that the Nittany Lions reigned on the volleyball world, as they won their first national title since 1999 in 2007 as they took down Stanford in the finals. Stanford was the #1 seed in that year’s bracket, with Penn State taking them down in five sets as the #3 seeded team. The following year, they completed their first undefeated season and took the title over Stanford again, this time in three and as the #1 seed. 2009 saw Penn State without a loss once again and another national title. In 2010, Penn State came in as the #4 seed and took down #7 California for their fourth straight title.
A look at #1 Seeds in the NCAA Tournament (Since 2000)
*#1 seeds that won are bolded
- 2016 – Nebraska, lost to #4 Texas in Semifinals
- 2015 – USC, lost to #9 Kansas in Quarterfinals
- 2014 – Stanford, lost to #5 Penn State in Semifinals
- 2013 – Texas, lost to #12 Wisconsin in Semifinals
- 2012 – Penn State, lost to #8 Minnesota in Quarterfinals
- 2011 – Texas, lost to #9 UCLA in Quarterfinals
- 2010 – Florida, lost to #16 Purdue in Regional Semifinals
- 2009 – Penn State (38-0), champion over #2 Texas
- 2008 – Penn State (38-0), champion over #2 Stanford
- 2007 – Stanford, lost to #3 Penn State in finals
- 2006 – Nebraska (33-1), champion over #2 Stanford
- 2005 – Nebraska, lost to #3 Washington in finals
- 2004 – Nebraska, lost to #8 UCS in Regional Finals
- 2003 – USC (35-0), champion over #3 Florida
- 2002 – USC (31-1), champion over #2 Stanford
- 2001 – Long Beach State, lost to #2 Stanford in finals
- 2000 – Nebraska (34-0), champion over #7 Wisconsin
Since 2000, six #1 seeded teams have taken the NCAA Tournament title – Nebraska (2), USC (2) and Penn State (2).
In the past six NCAA Tournaments, all #1 seeded teams have been downed by teams farther back on the scale than them, with the most notable being Florida losing to #16 Purdue in 2010. It is seeming that a certain underdog will take shape during the NCAA Tournament, with the most recent being Stanford in 2016. The Cardinals were not on many people’s radar during the year but surprisingly showed up to play during the tournament as the #6 team in the tournament. By no means is a #6 team, not a good team, they, for being a strong-house in the Pac-12 were not highly contended to win the national title. Stanford has made the most noise in the NCAA tournament – aside from Penn State claiming a load of national titles – as far as being apart of the finals. In 15 of the 35 NCAA Tournaments, Stanford has either won or been the runners-up in the competition.
For 2017, we don’t know who will be the overall #1 seed in the tournament, though it is looking the way of the Nittany Lions once again. They have some of the most overwhelming talents on their squad, dropping just one match on the season so far to Big Ten foe, Nebraska at home.
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