PROVO -- The Division I Women's Volleyball Committee announced Sunday that BYU will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship Friday and Saturday at the Smith Fieldhouse as the No. 3 seed in the Central Region.
The two first round matches in Provo include Utah State (21-9) vs. Missouri (24-6) at 5 p.m. and BYU (24-6) vs. Hofstra (23-10) at 7 p.m. The winners will play Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Smith Fieldhouse for the right to advance to the Central Region semifinals, which will likely be held in Lincoln, Neb. BYU has earned a semifinal spot four consecutive seasons, three times advancing to the regional finals.
The nation's top 16 teams were seeded nationally by the committee and placed within four regions. The teams tabbed as the top seeds in each region were top-ranked Nebraska (28-0) in the Central, Southern California (25-2) in the Pacific, Wisconsin (28-3) in the Mideast, and Hawaii (27-1) in the West Region. Other seeded teams in the Central Region include No. 2-seed Arizona (25-4), who defeated BYU earlier this season, and No. 4 seed Ohio State (24-6).
The Cougars are making their 11th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and their 19th overall, missing only the 1989 tournament in the 20 years since the NCAA has hosted the championship. BYU is ninth all-time in NCAA Tournament wins with a 24-18 overall record in the post-season event.
"We're excited about the tournament and glad to be at home," BYU coach Elaine Michaelis said. "There are several teams in our region that we have played and others that we don't know too well. The tournament is about playing the best teams and that is what we like to do."
BYU faced 12 opponents and played 16 matches this season against teams who earned a spot in this year's 64-team field. The Cougars posted a 10-6 record in those matches. BYU has not faced any of the No. 1-seeded teams this season but was 3-3 against teams seeded No.2-4. The Cougars are playing well entering the tournament, riding a season-best 11-match winning streak that includes three straight wins over ranked teams.
The three nationally ranked teams from Utah all earned an expected spot in this year's tournament. While BYU and Utah State will remain in the state, the University of Utah (22-7) will travel to Honolulu where it will play Texas Tech (24-8) in the first round. Utah State is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance.
This will be BYU's first meeting with Hofstra. The Flying Dutchwomen are the automatic qualifier from the America East Conference. The Mountain West Conference was 1-0 vs. the America East Conference this season with San Diego State defeating Northeastern 3-0 at the Cornell Invitational on Sept. 15.
In addition to BYU and Utah, Colorado State will represent the Mountain West in the tournament. The Rams (30-4) are the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Region and host Radford (28-6) in Fort Collins.
Thirty-one conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 33 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket. The Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-10 conferences each placed six teams in the field, followed by the Big West Conference with five and Conference USA with four representatives.
Four teams, Pacific (California), Penn State, Stanford and UC Santa Barbara, have earned bids to all 20 championships. Five teams are making their initial appearance in the field: Alabama A&M, Georgia State, Missouri, Texas-San Antonio and Utah State.
In the 19-year history of the championship nine schools have been crowned champion, eight of which are in this year's bracket, including the defending champion Penn State. Additional past winners making the field are Stanford (1992, 94, 96, 97), Hawaii (1982, 83, 87), Long Beach State (1989, 93, 98), UCLA (1984, 90, 91), Pacific (California) (1985, 86), Nebraska (1995) and Southern California (1981).
First and second-round matches will be played at the 16 campus sites. Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 7-10 at four campus locations yet to be determined. The regional winners will advance to the semifinals and final hosted by Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, Virginia on December 14 and 16.
A list of the first-round match-ups follows.
December 1-2 at Lincoln, Nebraska
South Carolina (21-6) vs. George Washington (25-5)
Princeton (20-8) at Nebraska (28-0)
December 1-2 at Columbus, Ohio
Cincinnati (24-9) vs. Notre Dame (25-6)
Ball State (25-6) at Ohio State (24-6)
December 1-2 at Provo, Utah
Utah State (21-9) vs. Missouri (24-6)
Hofstra (23-10) at Brigham Young (24-6)
December 1-2 at Tucson, Arizona
Louisville (26-7) vs. Michigan (18-13)
Alabama A&M (31-2) at Arizona (25-4)
November 30-December 1 at Honolulu, Hawaii
Utah (22-7) vs. Texas Tech (24-8)
Davidson (24-11) at Hawaii (27-1)
November 30-December 1 at Santa Clara, California
San Jose State (22-9) vs. Long Beach State (22-7)
Cal State Sacramento (21-11) at Santa Clara (26-4)
November 30-December 1 at Santa Barbara, California
Loyola Marymount (20-8) vs. Stanford (18-11)
Texas-San Antonio (24-8) at UC Santa Barbara (23-7)
November 30-December 1 at Minneapolis, Minnesota
Duke (21-12) vs. Arizona State (17-11)
Robert Morris (21-15) at Minnesota (28-3)
December 1-2 at Los Angeles, California
Cal Poly (16-11) vs. South Florida (28-5)
Georgia State (28-9) at Southern California (25-2)
November 30-December 1 at Gainesville, Florida
Southeast Missouri State (22-8) vs. North Carolina (26-7)
Arkansas-Little Rock (23-6) at Florida (27-4)
December 1-2 at University Park, Pennsylvania
Tennessee (23-9) vs. Washington State (18-9)
James Madison (21-9) at Penn State (27-5)
December 1-2 at Fort Collins, Colorado
Colorado (16-11) vs. Georgia Tech (25-7)
Radford (28-6) at Colorado State (30-4)
December 1-2 at Madison, Wisconsin
Western Michigan (25-5) vs. Northern Iowa (28-4)
Bucknell (17-14) at Wisconsin (28-3)
December 1-2 at Malibu, California
Loyola (Illinois) (22-8) vs. Kansas State (20-8)
Fairfield (26-6) at Pepperdine (23-6)
December 2-3 at Los Angeles, California
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (23-4) vs. Michigan State (17-12)
Morgan State (25-15) at UCLA (22-7)
December 1-2 at Stockton, California
Houston (21-10) vs. Texas A&M (19-8)
Oral Roberts (21-11) at Pacific (California) (26-3)