It is the largest day of ladies’s faculty volleyball all 12 months: eight matches between the 16 groups nonetheless within the operating for the nationwide championship. Regional Semifinals Day is a smorgasbord of expertise unfold throughout the nation.
It begins Thursday at midday ET, and early Friday morning we’ll know which packages are inside placing distance of the nationwide semifinals in Tampa, Florida.
With convention realignments subsequent season, together with the demise of the Pac-12, volleyball, like each different sport, will look considerably completely different. However for an additional NCAA Match, we’ve got volleyball’s two conventional “energy” conferences — the Pac-12 and the Massive Ten — with 4 groups from every nonetheless alive. Two rising powers, the ACC and SEC, every have three groups. The Massive 12 and Massive East have one every.
Six of the remaining groups gained the NCAA title, led by nine-time champion Stanford. Three of the regional semifinals will characteristic convention opponents: Kentucky vs. Arkansas, Wisconsin vs. Penn State and Stanford vs. Arizona State.
Video games will probably be performed at regional websites hosted by the No. 1 seeds: Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and Stanford.
All video games will probably be televised by ESPN2 or ESPNU and can be found on the ESPN app. The regional finals will happen on Saturday.
Listed below are the largest storylines from every area heading into the Candy 16.
Lincoln Regional: What does No. 1 Nebraska appear to be to this point?
Semi-finals: No. 1 Nebraska vs. No. 5 Georgia Tech (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2), No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Arkansas (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
Granted, the primary two rounds in opposition to Lengthy Island and Missouri had been extra of a formality for Nebraska. Regardless of this, the Huskers regarded good in successful each sweeps. Merritt Beason led Nebraska in wins in each video games, however this group can broaden their offense.
The Huskers’ subsequent opponent, Georgia Tech, upset Florida on the Gators’ residence turf within the second spherical. So it is fairly a distinction: the five-time nationwide champion Huskers, who’ve reached at the very least the Candy 16 within the final 12 years, in opposition to a Georgia Tech group that has solely made it this far 4 occasions within the historical past of this system.
Nonetheless, Yellow Jackets stars Tamara Otene and Bianca Bertolini are skilled, well-rounded gamers, and Georgia Tech has gained 11 highway video games this season.
By the best way, the Huskers held a “Nebraska Volleyball Day” on Aug. 30 after they set the attendance file for a ladies’s sporting occasion with 92,003 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Thursday will probably be one other large day within the state for volleyball because the Huskers and Creighton (positioned in Omaha) will play Candy 16 matches. The Bluejays meet Louisville within the Pittsburgh Regional.
Pittsburgh Regional: Collision course for Pitt and Louisville?
Semi-finals: No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 3 Creighton (midday ET, ESPN2), No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 4 Washington State (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
It wasn’t way back that the nationwide semifinals appeared like an unattainable dream for a lot of the ACC. The Panthers and Cardinals have modified that narrative: They’ve come this far up to now two seasons.
They’ll each not succeed this season, since they play in the identical regional. However we might head to Tampa and look to win the primary ACC ladies’s volleyball nationwide championship.
First, they should overcome two robust opponents within the semifinals. Creighton has gained 17 straight video games, together with a sweep of Minnesota within the second spherical. Washington State has gained seven in a row, together with in opposition to fellow Candy 16 contender Arizona State late within the common season.
If the Panthers and Cardinals advance to the regional ultimate, it will likely be their third matchup this season. They break up within the common season, every successful at residence.
Madison Regional: Can Penn State pull off one other highway upset?
Semi-finals: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Penn State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Purdue (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
The Nittany Lions performed one of the crucial thrilling matches of the primary spherical, defeating No. 4 seed Kansas in 5 units on the Jayhawks’ residence court docket within the second spherical. It will get even harder now as they journey to one of many hardest locations for his or her opponents to win.
Wisconsin has misplaced simply three residence video games within the final 4 seasons, none this 12 months, whereas the Badgers are 15-0 on the UW Fieldhouse. That features a sweep of Nebraska on Nov. 24, in addition to sweeps in opposition to their NCAA Match first-round foes Jackson State and Miami.
Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions handed the Badgers one in all their three losses this season: 3-1 at Penn State on November 11.
Stanford Regional: Are the Cardinal susceptible?
Semi-finals: No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Tennessee (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2), No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 5 Arizona State (11:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
The Cardinal was the one No. 1 seed to play 5 units within the first rounds; Stanford defeated Houston 3-2 within the second spherical. Subsequent up is an Arizona State group that has break up video games with Stanford this season: the Cardinal gained 3-0 at residence on September 29 and the Solar Devils gained 3-0 at residence on October 29 . It was Stanford’s solely loss within the Pac-12. .
That is Arizona State’s third look within the regional semifinals and first since 1995. The Solar Devils are 28-6, the second-highest win whole in program historical past. Their 14 convention wins and 20 sport sweeps are each program information. Arizona State’s JJ Van Niel was named Pac-12 Coach of the Yr.
Nevertheless, Stanford has solely misplaced two residence video games this season: in opposition to Florida in August and Nebraska in September. It could imply quite a bit to the Solar Devils to have essentially the most profitable program within the historical past of the game. However San Diego did it final 12 months at Maples Pavilion within the regional ultimate.