The 2015 Big West women’s volleyball champion, Hawai’i, is headed to the Lone Star State to take on a trio of Texas schools as part of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship as announced by NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee. Hawai’i, who earned the conference’s automatic bid to the postseason after posting a perfect 16-0 mark to claim its eighth Big West title, is making its 34th postseason appearance, 22nd consecutive.
Thirty-two conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 32 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket. The top-16 teams were seeded nationally and placed within four regions. The teams tabbed as the top four seeds were No. 1 USC, No. 2 Minnesota, No. 3 Texas and No. 4 University of Nebraska.
The Rainbow Wahine of Hawai’i (26-1) are set to travel to College Station, Texas, for first & second round action, along with host and No. 10-seeded Texas A&M (23-6), TCU (19-9) and Texas A&M Corpus-Christi (31-4). For their first round matchup, the Rainbow Wahine drew the Horned Frogs, who are an at-large team from the Big 12. The two teams take to the court Friday, Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. (Pacific) with the winner advancing to the second round to face the victor of the SEC champion Aggies and the Southland regular season and tournament champion Islanders.
Hawai’i is 12-1 all-time against the Texas trio with a perfect 6-0 mark against TCU and a 6-1 record versus the Aggies. The Rainbow Wahine and Islanders have never met on the court. The team to make it out of this weekend’s event unscathed faces the winner from the Penn State qualifier in Des Moines, Iowa, for regional action.
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, Howard, UNC Wilmington, Southern Illinois, SMU 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.
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, Ky., and San Diego, Calif. 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.