Stanford advances to defend NCAA Volleyball title
SAN FRANCISCO - Defending NCAA Champion and Pac-12 Champion STANFORD makes its 23rd trip to the NCAA semifinal, the most for any program in the country. The third-seeded Cardinal’s appearance marks the 35th time in 39 tournaments at least one Pac-12 team has advanced that far. Stanford faces seventh-seeded Minnesota at PPG Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Thursday, December 19. The winner of that match goes on to the national championship on Saturday, Dec. 21 and faces the winner of top-seeded Baylor vs. fourth-seeded Wisconsin.
•The Cardinal are looking to become the first Pac-12 team to win back-to-back NCAA titles since USC won in 2002 and 2003. Stanford won back-to-back crowns in 1996 and 1997. UCLA is the only other league team to win back-to-back, doing so in 1990 and 1991. The Pac-12 has won a NCAA-record 16 of 38 NCAA titles awarded.
• Six Pac-12 teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, the Conference going 8-3 through the first two rounds. In addition to Stanford earning a top-16 seeding, WASHINGTON was tabbed the No. 8 seed, advancing to the regional final for the 15th time. UCLA, USC, UTAH and WASHINGTON STATE earned at-large bids, as well. It marks the 20th-consecutive year at least Pac-12 six teams have participated in the “Big Dance.” Stanford is one of just two programs in NCAA history to have participated in all 39 postseason events.
• Five of the six Pac-12 teams were making a return trip to the NCAA Tournament after earning bids last season. UCLA was back in the postseason after missing out in 2018. It bounced back to post a winning record and a fourth-place showing in the Pac-12, a year after recording its first-ever losing record.
• USC made its 29th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and the Huskies made their 18th-straight. Utah and WSU have earned a postseason bids the last three years. The Utes advanced to the regional semifinal for the second time in three years. They are the only team so far in the postseason to have taken a set from the Cardinal, losing to the defending national champion, 3-2.
• Stanford won its 19th all-time Pac-12 crown. UCLA junior Mac May was named Pac-12 Player of the Year, the first Bruin to win the honor since 1994. Stanford seniors Jenna Gray and Morgan Hentz were tabbed Pac-12 Setter of the Year and Pac-12 Libero of the Year for the third-straight years, respectively. WSU’s Magda Jehlarova became the first Coug to be named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
• 21 Pac-12 student-athletes earned AVCA All-Region recognitions, led by Utah’s Beth Launiere and Dani Drews, who were named Pacific South Coach and Player of the Year. Washington’s Kara Bajema was the Pacific North Player of the Year and Washington State’s Jehlarova was tabbed the Freshman of the Year.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (All Times Specific to Site)
Thursday, Dec. 19 • ESPN
NCAA Semifinal, at PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.
#4 Wisconsin (26-6) vs. #1 Baylor (29-1) 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
#3 STANFORD (28-4) vs. #7 Minnesota (27-5) at 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Saturday, Dec. 21
NCAA Championship Match, at PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Semifinal match winners 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
STANDINGS (As of 12/16/19)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
2019 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
IN THE PRESEASON