The No. 17-ranked Utah Utes and No. 7-ranked BYU Cougars will both host the first two rounds of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament, the selection committee announced Sunday night.
The victor of Friday's match between Kansas (22-7) and Missouri (20-11) faces the victor of Wichita State (28-3) vs. Redford (25-4) in Saturday's 7 p.m. second-round match. The victor of each match will advance to the Second Round, slated for 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Almost a year ago, the Utah volleyball players made a commitment to each other that they would earn the right to host the first rounds of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Within the Big Ten Conference, the team was swept by No. 1 Penn State and No. 5 Nebraska and took only one loss from MI and Purdue.
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After Saturday's four set loss to Texas, redshirt senior Katie Staiger, who has 1,698 career kills said she, as well as the other seniors, were hoping they'd get another shot to play in front of a home crowd. Last year, the Bears played their first two rounds at UCLA, where they upset San Diego in five sets before being swept by UCLA. Doors will open at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1th and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15th.
Sunday the Missouri Valley champions celebrated at a watch party in Springfield, one night after sweeping Northern Iowa to capture the conference tournament title.
Colorado State and MI have met three times, including this season in Moby Arena when the Rams swept the Wolverines for their first win of the series. Missouri State boasts the MVC Player of the Year in Lily Johnson, the Libero of the Year in Emily Butters, and the Coach of the Year in Melissa Stokes. This is the team's 20th overall appearance in the tournament and seventh straight at-large bid.
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The first round of the NCAA Tournament is conducted by 16 host sites, which coincide with national seeds. In last year's NCAA Tournament, UNI fell to Creighton in the first round (3-2) in Lawrence, Kansas. A season ago, Stanford knocked Minnesota out of the Final Four.
This will mark the second time WKU stays within Kentucky's borders - the team lost 3-1 to No. 9 Louisville in Louisville in 2005.
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