December 10, 2011- UCLA led by outside hitter junior Rachael Kidder, who had a team high 15 kills, ousted the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State has been the national champion in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball for the past four years. UCLA ended that run by sweeping all three sets in the regional semifinal held in Lexington, Kentucky. The loss ended a 26-game consecutive win streak in the postseason for Penn State.
The eighth-seeded Nittany Lions were led by Aiyana Whitney who finished with a team high 12 kills in their 25-20, 25-21, 25-22 semifinal defeat. Kidder, who was followed in kills by Kelly Reeves with 11, led the ninth-seeded Bruins of UCLA. Lainey Gera led the Bruins in digs with 15 as the Lady Bruins increased their record to 27-6.
For the ninth consecutive year, the Nittany Lions reached the semifinals in a NCAA regional. Penn State has had a long storied history in women’s volleyball. They have appeared in the NCAA postseason every year since 1981. Nevertheless, their record in the postseason tournament against the UCLA Bruins is a dismal 1-5 over that same period of time.
In the other semifinal, the Florida State Seminoles ousted the top team in the Big Ten Conference, the Purdue Boilermakers to reach the final.