NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS • REGIONAL ROUNDS
LOS ANGELES • GALEN CENTER
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 • ROUND OF 16
(3) Washington vs. (14) Kansas • 5:00 p.m. PT • ESPN3
(6) USC vs. BYU • 7:00 p.m. PT • ESPN3
SATURDAY, dECEMBER 14 • QUARTERFINALS
Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2 • 8:30 p.m. PT • ESPNU
SEATTLE - For the eighth time in the past twelve seasons, the Husky volleyball team is among the final sixteen teams in the NCAA tournament. Washington (28-2) is striving to reach its first Final Four since 2006, and will travel to Los Angeles this weekend in hopes of flying back to Seattle with another match to play. KeyArena will host the NCAA semis and finals next Thursday and Saturday, with one of the four teams at the Galen Center this weekend in the mix.
The third-seeded Dawgs will take on 14th-seeded Kansas on Friday at 5:00 p.m. in the regional semifinals. At 7:00 p.m., No. 6 seed and host USC will take on unseeded BYU. Both of those matches will be shown online only, on ESPN3. The winners of Friday’s matches will play on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. in a match that will be televised live on ESPNU and streamed online through ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
The Huskies defeated Alabama State in their NCAA opener last Friday in straight sets, and then shook off a first set loss to win the next three to defeat LSU in the second round on Saturday. Against the Tigers, Krista Vansant had 24 kills on a .370 attack percentage, her second-most kills on the season.
Kansas reached the round of 16 with consecutive 3-1 victories at home last weekend over Wichita State and Creighton. The Jayhawks were second in the nine-team Big 12 this year with a 12-4 conference mark, and they are 25-7 overall. UW and Kansas have never met in volleyball. Senior setter Erin McNorton was a unanimous All-Big-12 selection.
Washington and USC are more than familiar with each other. The Huskies won in the Galen Center this season back in October, the first road win for UW at USC since 2008. Washington backed that up with a 3-1 win in Seattle that helped propel the Huskies to the Pac-12 title. USC rolled to sweeps of New Hampshire and Cal State Northridge in the first two rounds. The Trojans (28-5) led all teams with four All-Pac-12 selections, including Freshman of the Year Ebony Nwanebu and Libero of the Year Natalie Hagglund.
BYU and UW are in the same region for the second straight year, as both teams fell in the regional semis last year in Omaha, Nebraska. The Cougars (24-6) are unseeded but picked up one of the biggest upsets of the tourney so far, sweeping 11th-seeded Hawaii in front of more than 8,000 fans in Honolulu, one day after outlasting Arizona State in five sets in the first round. BYU and San Diego represent the West Coast Conference in the round of 16. In the regular season, BYU was 15-3 in league play, one game behind the Toreros for the conference crown.