Analysis: Losing streaks common among NCAA championship teams

The chances of Penn State winning the NCAA championship this season aren’t done but the would set a new precedent if it wins the national title in May.

No college men’s volleyball team during the rally scoring era has won the NCAA championship in the same season that it had longer than a three-match losing streak.


UC Irvine in 2013 and UCLA in 2006 remain the only rally scoring era teams to experience a three-match losing streak and win the national championship. Seven of the NCAA champions in the rally scoring era had a season-long two-match losing streak, while five championship teams never lost back-to-back matches.

The Nittany Lions, though, have a history of breaking trends in the postseason.

The 2006 Penn State team was the first team in the rally scoring era to have four-match losing streak and still reach the NCAA Tournament championship match. In addition, that Penn State team and IPFW in 2007 remain the only schools to have losing streaks longer than three matches and advance to the NCAA finals.

Check out this historical look at the longest losing streaks for teams advancing to the NCAA Tournament championship match during the rally scoring era.

NCAA champions longest losing streak that season
2014 Loyola: 1
2013 UC Irvine: 3
2012 UC Irvine: 2
2011 Ohio State: 2
2010 Stanford: 2
2009 UC Irvine: 1
2008 Penn State: 1
2007 UC Irvine: 2
2006 UCLA: 3
2005 Pepperdine: 1
2004 BYU: 2
2003 Lewis: 2
2002 Hawai’i: 2
2001 BYU: 1

NCAA champion runner-ups longest losing streak that season
2014 Stanford: 3
2013 BYU: 1
2012 USC: 3
2011 UC Santa Barbara: 2
2010 Penn State: 2
2009 USC: 3
2008 Pepperdine: 3
2007 IPFW: 4
2006 Penn State: 4
2005 UCLA: 1
2004 Long Beach State: 2
2003 BYU: 1
2002 Pepperdine: 1
2001 UCLA: 1