Record Six WCC Teams Earn Volleyball NCAA Bids

Record Six WCC Teams Earn Volleyball NCAA Bids

Dec. 1, 2003

SAN BRUNO, Calif. - After arguably the best volleyball regular season in West Coast Conference history, the NCAA selection committee rewarded the league with six bids to the NCAA tournament. Pepperdine, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, San Diego, San Francisco and Saint Mary's will represent the West Coast Conference in the postseason. It is the most WCC teams to enter the postseason in any league-sponsored sport. The previous high for volleyball was four set in the 1999 campaign. The conference-wide high for NCAA tournament participants is five, accomplished by both men's and women's soccer in recent years.

The Big Ten led all conferences with seven teams selected. Four conferences landed six teams including the Big 12, Big West, Pacific-10 and West Coast Conference. Ten teams are making their initial appearances in the tournament, including Saint Mary's and San Francisco.

The West Coast Conference has the highest percentage of its league teams participating in the postseason of any Division I conference. With six teams representing the WCC, 75 percent of the conference (6-of-8) received NCAA bids. "The NCAA's selection of six teams from the WCC is indicative of the strength of our league," said Commissioner Michael Gilleran. "In my 20 years as Commissioner, this is the most competitive our conference has been from top to bottom in the sport of volleyball."

In addition to the the six NCAA participants in volleyball, the WCC sent four teams to the postseason in both menıs and womenıs soccer. This fall, the West Coast Conference has sent 14 out of 23 teams to the NCAA Tournament.

After 25 wins this season and the program's highest ever USA Today/AVCA national ranking, the NCAA officially took notice when they awarded Pepperdine with the No. 4 overall seed in the tournament. The Waves will open the 2003 NCAA Championships against Manhattan College (21-13) on Thursday as Pepperdine was selected to host the first and second rounds. The University of Kansas (21-10) and Long Beach State (19-10) will also travel to Malibu.

The 13th-ranked Santa Clara University volleyball team will make its sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance this weekend in Seattle as the University of Washington will host the first two rounds on Friday and Saturday. Joining the Broncos are Northwestern, Utah and 12th-seeded Washington. SCU will face Utah in the opening round Friday night with the winner of that match taking on the winner of the Washington-Northwestern match the following evening.

No. 15 Loyola Marymount (25-6) has received an invitation to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in ten years. LMU will open first round action against Cal State Northridge (16-12) on Friday, December 5. LMU and Cal State Northridge will square off in the first round, as will top-seed Southern California (29-0) and New Hampshire (23-11). The winner of each match-up will meet for the second round contest, also played at USC on Saturday, December 6.

USF's record-setting season of firsts earned national attention as the Dons earned the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history after posting a 23-7 record just one year removed from a six-win season. San Francisco will open their first postseason adventure at the Stanford sub-regional where they will square off against Pacific (17-13) in opening round action Thursday Dec. 4 at 5:00 PM. Sacramento State (23-11) and the host Cardinal (23-6) complete the bracket.

Second-year head women's volleyball coach Jon Stevenson has guided Saint Mary's to an at-large selection into the 64-team field after posting a 20-12 overall record this season. Saint Mary's will open the tournament on Friday, December 5 at 7 p.m. in Berkeley, CA against the No. 8-ranked California Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion.

San Diego qualified for the NCAA Volleyball Tournament for the seventh time in eight seasons. San Diego (17-12) will play UCLA (21-8) Friday night in Los Angeles. The Toreros earned a national ranking as high as No. 16 this season. San Diego's Pacific Region is arguably the strongest in the nation, as the Toreros took on 12 regionally ranked opponents during its 29-match schedule.

First- and second-round matches will be played at 16 campus sites. A list of the first-round match-ups follows.

December 5 at Southern California
CS Northridge (16-12) vs. Loyola Marymount (25-6)-5pm
Southern California (29-0) vs. New Hampshire (23-11)-7pm

December 6 at Southern California
Winner Game 1 vs.Winner Game 2-6pm

December 5 at UCLA
Missouri (18-10) vs. UC Irvine (23-9)-5:30pm
San Diego (17-12) vs. UCLA (21-8)-8pm

December 6 at UCLA
Winner Game 1 vs.Winner Game 2-7pm

At Stanford
December 4 at Stanford
Pacific (17-13) vs. San Francisco (23-7)-5pm
Stanford (23-6) vs. Sacramento State (23-11)-7:30pm

December 5 at Stanford
Winner Game 1 vs.Winner Game 2-7pm

At Washington
December 5 at Washington
Santa Clara (20-10) vs. Utah (20-8)-4:30pm
Northwestern (18-14) vs. Washington (19-8)-7pm

December 6 at Washington
Winner Game 1 vs.Winner Game 2-7pm

At Pepperdine
December 4 at Pepperdine
Kansas (21-10) vs. Long Beach State (19-10)-4pm
Manhattan (21-13) vs. Pepperdine (25-2)-6pm

December 5 at Pepperdine
Winner Game 1 vs.Winner Game 2-5pm

At California
December 5 at California
Colorado (21-9) vs. Michigan (20-11)-5pm
Saint Mary's (20-12) vs. California (23-6)-7pm

December 6 at California
Winner Game 1 vs.Winner Game 2-7:30pm

Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 12 and 13. For the first time, there are pre-determined regional sites (Gainesville, Florida; Lincoln, Nebraska; Long Beach, California and Honolulu, Hawaii). The regional winners will advance to the semifinals and final hosted by the Big 12 Conference and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas on December 18 and 20.

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