UW Set To Face Mizzou Tonight In NCAA 1st Round Matchup

Nov. 30, 2007

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SEATTLE - The sixth-ranked Washington volleyball team (26-3) hosts first and second round matches of the 2007 NCAA Volleyball Championships at Bank of America Arena, and will play Missouri (17-12) in a first round matchup on Friday night at 7 p.m.

In the other first round match, BYU (21-7) will face Ole Miss (25-7). The winners of those two matches will play on Saturday night at 6 p.m. for the right to advance to regional play in University Park, Pa., hosted by Penn State.

Washington, and Bank of America Arena, was selected as one of 16 host sites for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships. The Huskies received the No. 6 seed out of 64 teams and were placed in the Penn State regional (University Park, PA). If the Huskies were to win both matches in Seattle this weekend, they would advance to regional play (Dec. 7-8) at Penn State. The Huskies would seem to have history on their side when they play Missouri. Since the NCAA began seeding teams in 2000, non-seeded teams are 0-112 against seeded teams in first round matches.

The Huskies will be making their sixth-straight NCAA tournament appearance under head coach Jim McLaughlin, and their ninth appearance overall in school history. The UW also made it to the tourney in 1994, 1996 and 1997. Washington won the 2005 national title and has advanced to the Final Four three straight years. If they could advance that far once again, they would become just the sixth school in the 26-year history of the NCAA Volleyball Championships to accomplish that feat. Washington was one of four regional hosts last season, and last hosted the first and second rounds in 2004.

Washington has faced six teams that are in the 2007 NCAA Championships and has gone 8-3 against those teams. Washington went 1-1 against No. 1 seed Stanford, 1-1 against No. 5 seed USC, 2-0 against No. 8 seed UCLA, 1-1 against No. 10 seed California, 2-0 against Oregon and 1-0 against Long Beach State.

Missouri finished the regular season at 17-12 overall and 10-10 in the Big 12 Conference, good for sixth place. Senior OH Na Yang leads the Tigers offense, averaging 4.47 kills per game. Yang, who was an All-Big 12 honorable mention pick, is hitting .272 and averaging 2.04 digs per game, making her one of five Missouri players to pick up at least two digs per game. Senior libero Tatum Ailes leads Mizzou in digs at 4.90 dpg. Ailes in the Tigers all-time leader in digs and is second all-time in Big 12 history. Missouri is one of just 16 schools to make every NCAA tournament this decade.

This will be the first ever meeting between Washington and Missouri.

BYU (21-7, 12-4 Mountain West) finished in a tie for second place in the Mountain West Conference. BYU advanced to the semifinals of the MWC Tournament before falling to UNLV, 3-2. Junior MB Rachel Dyer leads the team in hitting at .415 while averaging 3.37 kpg and senior OH Chelsea Goodman paces the Cougars in kills at 4.42 kpg and also averages 3.48 dpg. The Cougars have made 24 of the 27 NCAA Volleyball Championships and have gone 13-5 in first round matches. They have made 14 Sweet Sixteen appearances and advanced to the Elite Eight eight times. Their top finish came in 1993 when they advanced to the Final Four.

BYU has won all 11 times they have faced the Huskies, with the last meeting coming in 2001 during Jim McLaughlin's first season at the UW. The Cougars won that match 3-0. BYU and UW met in 1996 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, with the Cougars winning 3-1.

Ole Miss went 25-7 in the regular season, including 14-6 in SEC action which put them in second place in the Western Division and third overall in the conference. The 25 wins was the most by an Ole Miss team since the 1989 season and their 14 wins in conference were their most in SEC play in program history. This marks just the second winning season since 1994 for Ole Miss, who will be making their second straight tourney appearance.

If Washington and Ole Miss meet up in the second round, it would be the first meeting between the two schools.

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