The BYU Women’s Volleyball team begins their quest for a second straight NCAA semifinal appearance tonight after earning a 14 seed in this year’s tournament.
This marks the eighth straight tournament appearance for the Cougars, who are still seeking their first national championship in program history.
BYU finished the regular season with a 25-4 record, which includes impressive wins over Utah and Stanford and three straight wins to conclude WCC play.
Cougar head coach Heather Olmstead said she’s pleased with the way the team’s season has gone so far after their regular season finale against Pepperdine. “I’m really proud of our team and the season we’ve had,” Olmstead said. “I’m just so happy we had some great wins and nice competitions with some really good teams. I like what we’ve put together.
Earning the 14 seed should help the Cougars cause as they seek to reach the NCAA semifinals for the second consecutive season. As the 14 seed, BYU will host the first two rounds, which includes tonight’s matchup with New Mexico State and a potential game tomorrow against the winner of Utah and Illinois.
New Mexico State should prove to be a tough test for the Cougars tonight, however. The Aggies finished their season with a 27-3 record, won the WAC tournament, and ended their season on a 19-game winning streak.
On the other side of the bracket, Utah finished their season at 22-9, including three straight PAC-12 wins to finish the year. Illinois, out of the Big Ten Conference, enters the tournament at 16-13, but a look at their schedule reveals why the Fighting Illini deserve to be in this year’s tournament. Illinois played nearly half their games against ranked opponents, facing the likes of Penn State, Minnesota, and Nebraska in conference play.
Today’s games will begin at 4 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse with Utah taking on Illinois.
BYU and New Mexico State will follow that match at 7 p.m. and the winners of today’s games will play Saturday at 7 p.m.