Pac-12 volleyball earns eight NCAA Tournament bids
SAN FRANCISCO - Eight Pac-12 teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, tying for the most selections in the country, the NCAA Division I Volleyball Committee announced on Sunday night. Three teams earned a top-16 seeding and the right to host first- and second-round matches with STANFORD earning the highest bid in the Pac-12 at No. 6. Pac-12 Champion WASHINGTON was awarded the No. 8 seed and UCLA is the No. 10 seed. The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 1 and 2.
Tied for second in the Pac-12 this season, STANFORD (24-6) is the sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal are one of just two teams to have played in every postseason tournament in the 36-year history of the event. Stanford hosts Denver (23-8) in the first round on Friday night with the winner taking on the winner of the Western Kentucky (30-2)-Boise State (25-6) first-round match on Saturday.
2016 Pac-12 Champion WASHINGTON (26-4) was awarded the eighth-overall seed in the tournament and hosts Texas A&M Corpus Christi (24-7) in the first round. In his second year as head coach, Keegan Cook has led the Huskies to a second-straight Conference crown and a second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Making their 21st appearance overall, the Huskies also host Kentucky (22-7) and Colorado State (21-8) in the first round on Friday. The second-round match will be on Saturday.
No. 10-seed UCLA (24-6) stays home for the first and second rounds, hosting first-round opponent Murray State (23-8) on Friday, as well as San Diego (24-5) and Baylor (21-11). The second round will be on Saturday. The Bruins tied for second in the Pac-12 with the Cardinal and are making a third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 34th all-time.
ARIZONA (18-14) heads to East Lansing, Mich., for its first-round match versus Cleveland State (25-5) on Friday. The Wildcats are making a fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 28th overall after finishing in a tie for seventh place in the Conference. The potential second-round match would be against the winner of the No. 9-seeded Michigan State (24-8)-Fairfield (28-5) match on Saturday.
OREGON (20-9) is making a sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance coming off a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12. The Ducks take on Miami (Ohio) (24-6) in Ann Arbor, Mich. UO plays its first-round match ahead of host-Michigan (22-10), the No. 12 seed, and American (27-7) on Thursday. The second-round will be played on Friday.
USC (18-13) looks to snap a three-match losing streak when it plays its first-round match versus Hawai’i (22-5) on Friday in Minneapolis, Minn., home of No. 2-seeded Minnesota. The three losses to close out the regular season were to teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths. The Trojans, who were tied for seventh in the Pac-12, make their 34th all-time appearance, earning a bid every year since 1990. The Golden Gophers play North Dakota (26-9) in the first round and host the second round on Saturday.
UTAH (20-11) is back in the NCAA Tournament after missing out last season. The Utes finished a program-best tied for fifth in the Pac-12. Making its 13th-all-time NCAA appearance, Utah faces UNLV (23-7) in the first round on Friday in Provo, Utah. The Utes have already seen success in Provo this season, upsetting host and No. 13-seed BYU (27-3) in September. If the Utes get by the Rebels, BYU will have to get past Princeton (19-4) in the first round for the potential rematch.
Tied for fifth in the Pac-12 for its best Conference finish since 2000, WASHINGTON STATE (21-11) is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. The Cougars’ 11 Conference wins are the most since 2002 and its 21 victories are the most since 1997. WSU faces Marquette (23-8) in the first round on Thursday in Madison, Wis., with No. 3 Wisconsin hosting Howard (26-5) in the first round. Winners of the first round move on to the second round on Friday.
The Pac-12 owns a record 14 NCAA Tournament titles in the sport of women’s volleyball and looks to add to that total. The four NCAA Regional Tournaments will be played on Dec. 9 and 10 at the higher-seed’s home site. The national semifinal takes place on Dec. 15 and the national champion will be determined on Dec. 17 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
For more information on the NCAA Tournament, visit ncaa.com.
2016 Division I NCAA Volleyball Championship
Thursday-Friday, December 1-2
OREGON (20-9) vs. Miami (OH) (24-6)
No. 12 Michigan (22-1) vs. American (27-7)
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Friday-Saturday, December 2-3
ARIZONA (18-14) vs. Cleveland State (25-5)
No. 9 Michigan State (24-8) vs. Fairfield (28-5)
East Lansing, Mich.
Western Kentucky (30-2) vs. Boise State (25-6)
No. 6 STANFORD (21-7) vs. Denver (23-8)
San Diego (24-5) vs. Baylor (21-11)
No. 10 UCLA vs. Murray State (23-8)
Los Angeles, Calif.
USC (18-13) vs. Hawai’i (22-5)
No. 2 Minnesota (25-4) vs. North Dakota (26-9)
UTAH (20-11) vs. UNLV (23-7)
No. 13 BYU (27-3) vs. Princeton (19-4)
Kentucky (22-7) vs. Colorado State (21-8)
No. 8 WASHINGTON (26-4) vs. Texas A&M CC (24-7)
WASHINGTON STATE (21-11) vs. Marquette (23-8)
No. 3 Wisconsin (25-4) vs. Howard (26-5)
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