(Photo by Bella Torgenson/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Picked as the No. 12 seed overall, the BYU women’s volleyball team will host New Mexico State, Arizona State and Oklahoma in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament Friday and Saturday.
“It’s exciting,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “It’s a good spot to be, I believe. It’s going to be great competition. Some good teams are coming to town. It’s exciting for our program, it’s exciting for BYU, and I think it’s exactly where we want to be right now.”
The Cougars (26-3, 13-3 West Coast Conference) will play against New Mexico State in the first round and the winner will compete against the winner of the match between Arizona State and Oklahoma. Arizona State and Oklahoma will play Friday at 5 p.m. MST and BYU will face New Mexico State Friday at 7 p.m. MST. The winners will play Saturday at 7 p.m. MST in the second round.
BYU, New Mexico State, Arizona State and Oklahoma are part of the Omaha Region. Saturday's winner will advance to the region semifinals on Dec. 7 in Omaha, Neb.
The last time the Cougars played in the NCAA Tournament was in 2007, when they made it to the regional final against No. 1 Penn State. The last time BYU hosted the tournament was in 2000, when the Cougars hosted Hofstra and Utah State, defeating both teams 3-0.
“It’s been a while since we’ve hosted volleyball here in the NCAA Tournament,” Olmstead said. “That means a lot and it’s a credit to these girls for what they’ve done and the work they’ve put into this. To have the record that they have and be able to get that seed and host is so exciting for them.”
First and second round opponents
New Mexico State is 22-10 on the season and 12-6 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies upset Idaho in the WAC Championship match on Wednesday, becoming conference champions and claiming the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament despite their No. 4 seeding in the conference tournament. They were the lowest seed to ever win the WAC Championship.
Arizona State ended the regular season 20-13 overall and 9-11 Pac-12 play. In the Sun Devils’ last match, they defeated in-state rival Arizona 3-1. They finished sixth in their league.
Oklahoma is 21-10 overall and 10-6 in the Big 12 after knocking off Kansas State in the Sooners’ regular season finale Saturday. They finished fourth in their conference.
Six teams from the WCC earned spots in the NCAA Tournament. BYU received the automatic bid and Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Saint Mary’s, San Diego and Santa Clara earned at-large bids.
Nine of BYU’s opponents this season made it into the NCAA Tournament. Besides conference opponents, all three of BYU’s opponents from the Shocker Volleyball Classic—Wichita State, Colorado State and Tennessee—have earned spots in the tournament. BYU is 11-3 against teams that will play in the tournament this year.
More information about the first and second round matches will be posted as it becomes available.