by Nancy Allison Worley – No.15 University of Louisville volleyball team drew Belmont and will host NCAA First/Second Rounds at Cardinal Arena on campus this Friday-Saturday. The Cards will face the winner of the Illinois/Southern Illinois match should they advance.
The Cards are making their 25th NCAA appearances and have 27 straight winning seasons, 19 conference championships and have been in NCAAs 24 of last 26 years. Louisville is one of only 14 schools to make 25 or more appearances in the NCAA Tournament since it started in 1981.
“We could not be more excited about being at home,” said Anne Kordes, UofL head coach. “We set up goals for ourselves for the season. We knew that winning the ACC title and getting the opportunity to host would go hand in hand. We feel blessed to be in this position and all the credit goes to the girls. Now we have a lot of work to do. We played Belmont in the tournament a couple of years ago. They are a scrappy team that plays great defense. They run a quick offense. We are not looking past them at all.”
Belmont (17-14, 11-5 OVC) defeated top-seeded Murray State in four sets (20-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-15) to claim the 2015 OVC Volleyball Championship and automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Volleyball Championship. The Bruins won nine out of 11 sets over Morehead State, Tennessee Tech and the host Racers to claim the conference crown. Belmont is making its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, second representing the OVC (2006, 2008 – Atlantic Sun; 2012, 2015 – OVC). The Bruins are led by sophomore Arianna Person, who was named Tournament Most Valuable Player, while teammates Emma Price and Jocelyn Youngdahl were named to the OVC All-Tournament Team.
“We are excited to be hosting and we were not sure that was going to be possible after dropping our match to Syracuse on Friday,” said ACC Player of the Year Katie George. “So we are thrilled. We just hope we use this opportunity to make it to Des Moines for the Sweet Sixteen. We need a ton of fans to comeout and make it an intimidating place to play.”
On the other side of the bracket are the Illini, a team the Cards faced in the Illini Classic earlier this season. The Cards fell in three but took the Illini down to the wire in each set before falling 27-25, 25-23, 26-24. The No. 18 Fighting Illini fell to Michigan, 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-27, 20-25), in the regular-season Big Ten finale Nov. 27 in Cliff Keen Arena. The Illini finished their regular-season at 19-12 and 10-10 in the Big Ten. The Illini face Southern Illinois in the first round. The Saluki volleyball team concluded its run at the MVC Volleyball Tournament in the semifinal round on Friday night with a 3-0 loss to the No. 3 seed Missouri State Bears. The match saw 11 ties, resulting in 25-22, 25-19 and 25-20 sets. This is the second consecutive year the Salukis have been eliminated from the tournament by Missouri State.
Tickets requests are now being accepted from Louisville Volleyball season-ticket holders. To request tickets, please log in to your My Cardinals Account . Select the number of tickets you would like to request for each day. The maximum number of tickets that can be requested per day is six. Reserved seating tickets are $20 per day. Credit cards will only be charged if you are allocated tickets, based on Cardinal Athletic Fund priority point level.
If there are any remaining tickets, they will go on sale beginning at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 1. A limited number of standing room only tickets and any other reserved seats will be sold on game days. If you have questions, please contact the Athletic Ticket Office, starting tomorrow at 9:00 AM via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 502GOCARDS.
NCAA Tournament Facts:
Per the established bracketing principles the top 16 seeds were provided the opportunity to host. Additionally, team pairings were determined by geographic proximity, with the exception that teams from the same conference were not paired during the first- and second-rounds.
The Big Ten Conference led all leagues with nine teams selected to compete in the championship tournament. The Pac-12 Conference was next with seven teams advancing while the Big 12 Conference will have five teams compete in the field of 64. Two teams: Pennsylvania State University and Stanford University have earned bids to all 35 championship tournaments. Six programs are making their first appearances in the tournament: Harvard University, Howard University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Southern Methodist University, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
During the previous 34 years of the championship 10 schools have won a national title, eight of which earned a place in this year’s bracket.
Previous winners making the field are: UCLA (1984, 1990, 91, 2011), University of Hawaii, Manoa (1982, 83, 87), Nebraska (1995, 2000, 06), Southern California (1981, 2002, 03), Stanford (1992, 94, 96, 97, 2001, 04), Penn State (1999, 2007, 08, 09, 10, 13, 14), Texas (1988, 2012) and University of Washington (2005).
First- and second-round matches will be played at 16 campus sites. Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 11 and 12. The pre-determined regional sites are Austin, Texas, Des Moines, Iowa, Lexington, Kentucky, and San Diego. All regional semifinal matches will be shown on ESPN3. Regional final matches will air on ESPNU.
The regional winners will advance to the semifinals and final hosted by Nebraska at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska on December 17 and 19. Both national semifinal matches as well as the championship match will be broadcast by ESPN2. All regional and championship site match times can be found on the attached championship bracket or online at www.ncaa.com/wvb.
For more information about the championship, log on to www.ncaa.com/volleyball.
ACC Volleyball Facts
Four Atlantic Coast Conference teams were selected to the 64-team field of the 2015 NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship, which gets underway on December 3. Florida State, Miami and North Carolina will join Louisville, the recipient of the league’s automatic bid.
Fifteenth-seeded Louisville (24-6) will play in the Des Moines Regional and host Belmont (17-14) on December 4 at 7 p.m. The winner will face either Southern Illinois (23-9) or Illinois (19-12). The Cardinals claimed their first ACC Volleyball title Saturday afternoon, finishing with an 18-2 conference record, and will make their 25th NCAA tournament appearance.
North Carolina (20-9) will play in the San Diego Regional and host UNC Wilmington (24-7) on December 4 at 6:30 p.m. The winner of that match will play either Coastal Carolina (25-4) or Creighton (25-8) in the second round. The Tar Heels are making their 17th appearance in the tournament.
Florida State (24-7) will travel to Gainesville, Florida in the Austin Regional to take on Arizona State (19-12) in the first round on December 3 at 4:30 p.m. The winner will face either 11th-seeded Florida (22-6) or New Hampshire (21-8) in the second round. The Seminoles are making their 18th appearance in the NCAA tournament
Miami (21-9) will also play in the Austin Regional, facing Iowa State (18-10) in the first round in Madison, Wisconsin on December 3 at 6 p.m. The winner of that match will play either 6th-seeded Wisconsin (24-6) or Oregon (16-13). The Hurricanes are making their eighth NCAA tournament appearance.
Nancy Allison Worley