Nine Pac-12 volleyball teams earn NCAA Tournament bids

SAN FRANCISCO - Nine Pac-12 volleyball teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, the most for any conference in the country, the NCAA Division I Volleyball Committee announced on Sunday night. Pac-12 Champion  and defending NCAA Champion STANFORD earned a No. 3 seed while four more earned a top-16 seeding giving them the right to host first- and second-round sites. First-round tournament action begins on Thursday, Nov. 30 and Friday, Dec. 1.

With a top-four seed, the defending national champion has the possibility of hosting through to the national semifinal final round. If the Cardinal wins its opening-round matches, it will host a regional.

The Cardinal claimed its 17th Pac-12 crown this season with a commanding 19-1 league record and enters the postseason with a 26-3 overall record. Stanford is one of just two teams to have earned a berth to all 37 NCAA Tournaments, along with Penn State, the top-seeded team in the field. Both teams are also tied for the most national championships, each having won seven apiece. Stanford faces CS Bakersfield (19-13) in the first round on Friday, and hosts Colorado State (28-3) and Michigan (21-11). The second round will be on Saturday, Dec. 2.

With a 24-7 overall record and after finishing in a tie for second in the Pac-12, WASHINGTON is the No. 8 seed overall and hosts LIU Brooklyn (20-9) on Friday in the first round. UW also hosts Illinois (21-10) and Hawai’i (20-7) in the first round. The Huskies, the only team in the Conference to have defeated Stanford this season, are making their 22nd overall NCAA Tournament appearance and 16th straight. UW is in the Kentucky Regional (Lexington, Ky.) and last won the national championship in 2005.

10th-seeded USC (22-9, 14-6) tied for second in the Pac-12, bouncing back from a season where the Trojans finished tied for seventh and was .500 in league play. Playing in the Florida Region (Gainesville, Fla.), USC is hosting Central Arkansas (27-4) in its 35th appearance all-time. LSU (20-9) and San Diego (24-4) open their postseason in Galen Center, as well.

UTAH is the 11th seed overall in the NCAA Tournament in its 14th all-time appearance, earning a top-16 seed for just the second time and first time since 2008. It is the highest seed the Utes have ever earned. The Utes finished a team-best fourth in the Pac-12, winning 13 league matches (with seven losses), the most since joining the Conference in 2011. Their 22 wins (with nine losses) are the most since 2008. Utah hosts Cleveland State on Thursday, with a potential second-round match versus High Point (24-7) or Purdue (22-9) on Friday, Dec. 1.

UCLA is the 15th overall seed in the tournament and in the Florida Region. The Bruins are in the national championship for the 35th time ever. It hosts Austin Peay (30-5) in the first round on Friday. Denver (23-5) and Cal Poly (26-2) are also playing in Pauley to open the postseason. UCLA tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with a 12-8 league mark, while boasting a 19-10 overall record.

COLORADO makes its 19th overall appearance in the tournament after finishing tied for fifth in the Conference. Its 12 Pac-12 wins are the most since entering the league in 2011 and are double that of last season. The Buffs have a 22-9 record so far this season, the most overall wins for the program since 1998. Its first appearance in the most season in three years, Colorado travels to 12th-seeded Baylor to face James Madison (23-5) in the first round on Friday. It could face the winner of the Bears (23-6) and Miami (Ohio) match on Saturday in the second round. The Buffs are in the Kentucky Regional.

Under first-year head coach Matt Ulmer, OREGON makes its seventh-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 15th all-time. The Ducks finished eighth in the Pac-12 (10-10, 17-11 overall) and travels to Provo, Utah, to face first-time NCAA Tournament team Kennesaw State (21-4) on Friday. The Ducks are hosted by 13th-seeded BYU (28-2), who faces American (26-7) in the first round of the Kentucky Regional.

OREGON STATE returns to the postseason for the first time since 2014 and just the fourth time ever. The Beavers have also had a historic season, finishing in a tie for seventh with a team-record tying 11 league wins. Their 21 wins are the third time since the Pac-12 started sponsoring the sport that it has  had a 20-win campaign. OSU travels to sixth-seeded to face NC State (20-11) in the first round on Friday. The winner of the Beavs and Wolfpack match faces the winner of the Longhorns (24-2) and Fairfield (25-6) match on Saturday. OSU is in the Stanford Regional.

WASHINGTON STATE earns an at-large bid for the second-straight year and just the 12th time ever. The Cougs were ninth in a very competitive Pac-12. Traveling to Lincoln, Neb., WSU (17-15) faces Florida State (18-10) in the first round on Friday and could face fifth-seeded Nebraska (26-4) or Stony Brook (18-12) on Saturday. The Cougs are in the Kentucky Regional.

The Pac-12 owns a record 15 NCAA Tournament titles in the sport of women’s volleyball with the Cardinal winning the most recent title. First- and second-round matches will be played November 30 through December 2 at 16 campus sites. Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 8 and 9. Regionals for the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship will be held at four non-predetermined campus sites, which will be announced after play concludes, on December 2. At each site, four teams will compete in single-elimination regional semifinal competition.

The regional winners advance to the national semifinals and championship final, co-hosted by the University of Missouri Kansas City, University of Kansas and Kansas City Sports Commission, on December 14 and 16 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The national semifinal matches will be broadcast on ESPN/ESPN2 and the championship match will broadcast on ESPN2.

All regional and championship site match times can be found on the attached championship bracket or online at www.ncaa.com/wvb.

For more information on the NCAA Tournament, visit ncaa.com/volleyball.

2017 Division I NCAA Volleyball Championship
Thursday-Friday, November 30-December 1

#11 UTAH (22-9) vs. Cleveland State (22-7)
High Point (24-7) vs. Purdue (22-9)
Salt Lake City, Utah

Friday-Saturday, December 1-2
#3 STANFORD (26-3) vs. CSU Bakersfield (19-13)
Colorado State (28-3) vs. Michigan (21-11)
Stanford, Calif.

#8 WASHINGTON (24-7) vs. LIU Brooklyn (20-9)
Illinois (21-10) vs. Hawai’i (20-7)
Seattle, Wash.

#10 USC (22-9) vs. Central Arkansas (27-4)
San Diego (24-4) vs. LSU (20-9)
Galen Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

#15 UCLA (19-10) vs. Austin Peay (30-5)
Denver (23-5) vs. Cal Poly (26-2)
Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, Calif.

#5 Nebraska (26-4) vs. Stony Brook (18-12)
Florida State (18-10) vs. WASHINGTON STATE (17-15)
Lincoln, Neb.

#12 Baylor (23-6) vs. Miami (Ohio) (23-8)
COLORADO (22-9) vs. James Madison (23-5)
Waco, Texas

#13 BYU (28-2) vs. American (26-7)
OREGON (17-11) vs. Kennesaw State (21-4)
Provo, Utah

#6 Texas (24-2) vs. Fairfield (25-6)
OREGON STATE (21-11) vs. NC State (20-11)
Austin, Texas

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