Volleyball Hosts NCAA Regional
Fresh off a great date night last night and enjoying a day off work today, I'll be one of the thousands of fans... er, media for me... heading downtown to the KFC Yum! Center to see Louisville volleyball play in the opening round of the NCAA Regional and the third round of the NCAA Tournament. 1-seed Louisville hosts 4-seed Baylor following the conclusion of 2-seed Nebraska vs 3-seed Oregon.
Louisville swept Samford in the first round of the tournament and followed it with a sweep against Purdue to advance to its fourth straight Sweet Sixteen. The ACC Champions have made eight Sweet Sixteen appearances in program history.
Baylor enters the match with a 25-6 overall record. The Bears received an at-large bid after they finished second in the Big 12 with a 12-4 conference record, sitting only behind Texas. They did take down Wisconsin early in the season, but are 0-3 against the remaining field with a loss to Minnesota and two losses to Texas. They also have wins against other teams that made the NCAA Tournament in Pepperdine, TCU, Iowa State, Rice, Kansas, and Stephen F Austin.
The Bears posted a dominant 16-1 record at home, but struggled on the road (6-4) and found moderate success at neutral locations (3-1). Baylor has had a balanced offense this year with five players having anywhere from 221-340 kills. Lauren Harrison leads the charge. Defense has also been by committee with five players recording anywhere from 171-381 digs. Libero Lauren Briseno has been the top performer there. Averi Carlson made an immediate impact this season as libero and was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Her stats include 1232 assists, 30 aces, 220 digs, and 30 blocks.
Like Louisville, Baylor prides itself on being a blocking team, accumulating 294.blocks this season for an average of 2.6 per set. Seven players are listed as 6'3 or taller, giving them a slight height advantage over Louisville.
The Cards and Bears seem to match-up well in terms of style of play and stats, giving this match the potential to be an exciting one.
Only the lower bowl will be open for today's match with Ticketmaster listing tickets for $37.15 plus fees. You can also catch this on TV on ESPNU if you can't make it to the match. Start time is set for 30 minutes after Nebraska vs Oregon ends so it's anticipated the match will start between 1:30-2:00 p.m. ET.
Here is the regional schedule for Thursday, Dec. 8:
- No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 2 Nebraska | 11 a.m. ET | ESPNU | Louisville regional semi
- No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Minnesota | noon ET | ESPN2 | Austin regional semi
- No. 4 Baylor vs. No. 1 Louisville | 1:30 p.m. ET | ESPNU | Louisville regional semi
- No. 4 Marquette vs. No. 1 Texas | 2:30 p.m. ET| ESPN2 | Austin regional semi
- No. 3 Florida vs. No. 2 Pittsburgh |3:30 p.m. | ESPNU | Madison regional semi
- No. 4 Penn State vs. No. 1 Wisconsin | 6 p.m. ET | ESPNU | Madison regional semi
- No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 2 San Diego | 8 p.m. ET | ESPNU | Stanford regional semi
- No. 5 Houston vs. No. 1 Stanford | 10:30 p.m. ET | ESPNU | Stanford regional semi
(PHOTOS BY JARED ANDERSON)
Happy Thursday and Go Cards!