Two national seeds highlight Pac-12 women's volleyball's six 2021 NCAA Tournament teams
SAN FRANCISCO - Six Pac-12 women's volleyball teams earned bids to the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship, as the 64-team field was announced by the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball committee on Sunday night.
UCLA and Pac-12 champion Washington were awarded national seeds and will host the first and second rounds on Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4. The Bruins are the No. 13 overall seed and the Huskies, the Conference's automatic qualifier, were awarded the No. 15 overall seed. Joining UCLA and Washington in the field are Oregon, Stanford, Utah and Washington State.
It is the 27th time in the 40-season history of championship tournament that the Pac-12 has sent at least six of its teams to the postseason, including the 21st time in the past 22 seasons.
The six participants will now look to add to the Conference's success in NCAA postseason play:
- Pac-12 institutions have won 17 of the 40 all-time NCAA championships in women’s volleyball, five more than the next closest conference (Big Ten), and four of the past 10.
- Pac-12 teams have compiled a 490-261 (.652) record in NCAA play. Toss out the 48 postseason matches between Conference teams and the league’s NCAA Tournament record against nonconference opponents stands at 442-213 (.675).
- Seven different Pac-12 programs have made NCAA semifinal appearances since 2001 and 14 of the past 20 championship matches have included at least one Pac-12 program.
- A Pac-12 team has been one of the final four teams in all but four years of the NCAA Tournament (1993, 1998, 2009, 2015) and at least one Pac-12 team has played in 27 of the 40 NCAA title matches all-time, the most of any league.
Friday, Dec. 3 - 7 p.m. PT - Fairfield (24-8) at No. 13 UCLA (23-5)
Pac-12 runner-up UCLA earned a national seed for the first time since 2017 and best since it was a No. 10 seed in 2016. Four-time national champions, the Bruins will be going for their first NCAA title since 2011 in their 38th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance.
Friday, Dec. 3 - 7 p.m. PT - Brown (20-5) at No. 15 Washington (24-4)
The back-to-back Pac-12 champion Huskies will be making their 20th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, which is the fifth-longest active streak in the NCAA and the longest in the Pac-12. Washington, which won it all in 2005, is one of four seeded teams in its region along with No. 2 Texas, No. 7 Kentucky and No. 10 Nebraska. The Huskies, Longhorns and Wildcats were three of the four national semifinalists this past spring.
Thursday, Dec. 2 - 2:30 p.m. PT - Oregon (22-8) vs. Kansas (16-11) - Omaha, Neb.
Oregon is in the tournament for the 18th time in program history, the 11th in the past 12 seasons and the fourth time under head coach Matt Ulmer. Kansas, Thursday's first-round opponent, enters the postseason with a 16-11 record. The two programs have played three times previously, but not since 2008. The other half of the Omaha quadrant features host and No. 14 seed Creighton (30-3) and Ole Miss (21-8).
Friday, Dec. 3 - 2:30 p.m. PT - Stanford (18-10) vs. Iowa State (16-11) - Minneapolis, Minn.
After missing out on the postseason for the first time in program history during the spring's COVID-impacted campaign, the Cardinal is back and will be making its 40th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth under head coach Kevin Hambly. Nine-time national champions, Stanford will be seeking its 24th Final Four trip and 18th appearance in the national title match. It will be the second meeting between the Cardinal and Cyclones in the postseason. Stanford swept Iowa State in an NCAA Regional Semifinal in Berkeley in 2012.
Friday, Dec. 3 - 3 p.m. PT - Utah (21-8) vs. Utah Valley (16-12) - Provo, Utah
Utah is set to make its sixth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 18th overall with Friday's first-round matchup against Utah Valley in Provo, the Utes' fourth trip to the Provo Regional in six years. Third in the Pac-12 for the third consecutive season with a program record-tying 14 Conference wins, Utah also had six wins over top-25 teams, highlighted by the two best true road wins in program history, beating then-No. 3 Nebraska in Lincoln on Sept. 11 and then-No. 6 Washington in Seattle on Sept. 22.
Thursday, Dec. 2 - 2:30 p.m. PT - Washington State (19-11) vs. Northern Colorado (24-6) - Waco, Texas
One of just 17 teams to qualify for the past six NCAA Tournaments, Washington State is making its 16th all-time postseason appearance. The Cougars won 13 Conference matches in 2021, a best under head coach Jen Greeny, to finish in a tie for fourth in the Conference standings. Washington State and Northern Colorado have faced off twice previously, with WSU winning both matchups in 1981 and 2007.