Utah Volleyball Earns Sixth-Straight NCAA Tournament Bid, Opens Against Utah Valley in the Provo Regional
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah volleyball program is set to make its sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 18th overall in program history with a first round matchup against Utah Valley this Friday, Dec. 3 in the Provo Regional. The Utes and Wolverines will open postseason play at 4 p.m. MT at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.
"I never take this for granted," said head coach Beth Launiere. "The work that this team put in this year to take third in the Pac-12 and to get in to the tournament needs to be acknowledged and celebrated. We will get down to business starting tomorrow and are very excited to be in the tournament. Utah Valley has a very good program, a very good staff and head coach in Sam Atoa, and we respect them a lot. We will have to do a very good job of prepping for them."
Utah finished the regular season 21-8 overall and posted a 14-6 record in Pac-12 play to finish in third place for the third year in a row. The 14 conference wins ties a program-best in Pac-12 play, which was set during the 2019 season. Utah also posted six wins over top-25 teams that was highlighted by the two highest true road wins in program history – over then-No. 3 Nebraska in Lincoln and then-No. 6 Washington in Seattle.
Utah Valley earned its second consecutive berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning three straight matches in the WAC Tournament to earn the league's automatic bid. The back-to-back WAC champions finished the year 16-12 and 8-6 in conference play. The Utes opened the season with a pair of matches against the Wolverines, taking a 3-1 win in Orem before earning a sweep the next day in Salt Lake City.
"We weren't surprised with the draw," said Launiere on heading to the Provo Regional for the fourth time in six years. "We have familiarity in the arena and have been in this position before. It doesn't matter where you end up in the dance because you have to win matches and face challenges along the way wherever you land."
Should the Utes earn a win over Utah Valley, they would play the winner of Boise State and No. 11-seeded BYU on Saturday, Dec. 4. The second round match will take place at 7 p.m. MT.