Nov. 30, 1997
Notre Dame Volleyball to Face Liberty in NCAA First Round
Irish Placed in Central Region, with Potential Matchups vs. Arkansas and Wisconsin
The University of Notre Dame women's volleyball team will open play at the 1997 NCAA Tournament against Liberty University, with the match to be held at the University of Arkansas (in Fayetteville) on Friday, Dec. 5 (time TBA).
The NCAA women's volleyball tournament has expanded from 48 to 56 teams and will feature 16 sub-regionals, with the top eight seeds receiving a first-round bye. Arkansas (29-5), which is coming off an upset of Florida in the Southeastern Conference title match, will play host to one of those subregionals. The Lady Razorbacks will face Arkansas-Little Rock (16-12) on Dec. 5, with the winner moving on to play the Notre Dame-Liberty winner on Dec. 6.
The Irish--who will be making their sixth straight NCAA appearance and seventh in 10 years--have been placed in the central region, with Wisconsin (29-2) serving as the region's top seed. Wisconsin awaits the winner of the Central Florida-Clemson first-round match, with the winner of the Wisconsin subregional facing the winner of the Arkansas sub-regional in the regional round.
The bottom half of the central region bracket is as follows: American vs. Colorado State, with the winner facing the Lehigh-Washington State winner (WSU is the host team), and Florida State-Southern Florida, with the winner facing sub-regional host Florida.
Should Notre Dame advance to the regional round, the Irish conceivably could be paired in the central region with three teams that have defeated Notre Dame this season: Wisconsin, Washington State and Florida.
Penn State received the tournament's overall #1 seed and is the top seed in the East region while Long Beach State is the overall #2 seed (pacific region), Stanford is the #3 seed (mountain region) and Wisconsin is #4. The remainder of the top eight tournament seeds are as follows: #5 Florida, #6 UC Santa Barbara, #7 Nebraska and #8 Brigham Young.
Notre Dame faced four of the top eight seeds during the 1997 season--Wisconsin, Florida, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara--in addition to seven other teams in the tournament field: BIG EAST foe Villanova, Texas A&M, Washington State, Houston, Colorado, Oral Roberts, Illinois State and Texas. The Irish were 5-8 vs. teams in the 1997 NCAA Tournament field, posting two wins over Villanova and one victory over Houston, Oral Roberts and Illinois State.
Liberty (26-8) will be making its first appearance in the NCAAs after claiming the Big South Conference automatic bid. The Flames' eight losses this season came vs. Coastal Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Biola, Point Loma Nazarene, Radford, Campbell and Maryland-Baltimore County.
Arkansas-Little Rock (16-12) is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Southland Conference title. Arkansas also is making its second NCAA appearance, after advancing in 1996.
1997 NCAA VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
EAST REGION at State College, Pa. 12/5 - Villanova (20-8) vs. Northern Illinois (26-3) 12/6 - Villanova/Northern Illinois winner plays Penn State (30-1) at College Park, Md. 12/5 - Ohio State (22-10) vs. Fairfield (25-9); Princeton (22-5) at Maryland (26-1) 12/6 - Ohio State/Fairfield winner vs. Princeton/Maryland winner at College Station, Texas 12/4 - Temple (29-4) vs. Michigan (20-11); Hofstra (23-13) vs. Texas A&M (24-7) 12/ - Temple/Michigan winner vs. Hofstra/Texas A&M winner at Provo, Utah 12/5 - Miami (Ohio) (23-7) vs. Minnesota (22-9) 12/6 - Miami (Ohio)/Minnesota winner vs. Brigham Young (27-5) CENTRAL REGION at Madison, Wis. 12/5 - Central Florida (27-3) vs. Clemson (26-7) 12/6 - Central Florida/Clemson winner vs. Wisconsin (28-2) at Fayetteville, Ark. 12/5 - Arkansas (29-5) vs. Arkansas-Little Rock (16-12); Notre Dame (23-8) vs. Liberty (26-8) 12/6 - Arkansas/Arkansas-Little Rock winner vs. Notre Dame/Liberty winner at Pullman, Wash. 12/6 - American (30-3) vs. Colorado State (26-5); Lehigh (18-12) vs. Washington State (24-6) 12/7 - American/Colorado State winner vs. Lehigh/Washington State winner at Gainesville, Fla. 12/5 - Florida State (25-8) vs. South Florida (25-8) 12/6 - Florida State/South Florida winner vs. Florida (31-3) PACIFIC REGION at Long Beach, Calif. 12/5 - Hawaii (25-7) vs. Loyola Marymount (21-6) 12/6 - Hawaii/Loyola Marymount winner vs. Long Beach State (30-1) at Seattle, Wash. 12/6 - Washington (18-9) vs. Chattanooga (26-9); Pacific (22-8) vs. Cal State Sacramento (21-8) 12/7 - Washington/Chattanooga winner vs. Pacific/Cal State Sacramento winner at Los Angeles, Calif. 12/5 - Kansas State (20-12) vs. San Diego (25-3); Morgan State (25-9) vs. Southern California (21-5) 12/6 - Kansas State/San Diego winner vs. Morgan State/Southern California winner at Lincoln, Neb. 12/5 - Butler (27-6) vs. Michigan State (22-11) 12/6 - Butler/Michigan State winner vs. Nebraska MOUNTAIN REGION at Stanford, Calif. 12/5 - Oklahoma (19-12) vs. Houston (22-9) 12/6 - Oklahoma/Houston winner vs. Stanford (28-2) at Boulder, Colo. 12/6 - Colorado (20-8) vs. Tennessee Tech (23-9); Arizona (20- 6) vs. Oral Roberts (28-9) 12/7 - Colorado/Tennessee Tech winner vs. Arizona/Oral Roberts winner at Austin, Texas 12/4 - Illinois State (24-8) vs. South Carolina (20-7); Stephen F. Austin (23-12) vs. Texas (23-6) 12/5 - Illinois State/South Carolina winner vs. Stephen F. Austin/Texas winner at Santa Barbara, Calif. 12/5 - UCLA (16-12) vs. Pepperdine (23-5) 12/6 - UCLA/Pepperdine winner vs. UC Santa Barbara (29-4)
CHAMPIONSHIP STRUCTURE: The 1997 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship provides for a field of 56 teams. Sixteen first- and second-round matches will be played December 4-7. Winners will advance to four regional tournaments (December 11- 14), also to be played on the campuses of participating institutions. The four regional winners will meet for the championship December 18 and 20. Competition will be single-elimination, best three-of-five-game matches. The national semifinals and final will be played December 18 and 20 at the Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington. Washington State University is the host institution.
SELECTION PROCESS: Twenty-six conferences were granted automatic qualification for the 1997 championship and four conferences competed in play-in competition to fill the remaining two conference berths. The remaining 28 teams were selected at large.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Last year, Stanford captured its third NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship in six years, defeating Hawaii 15-7, 15-3, 15-5 in Cleveland, Ohio. Stanford freshman Kerri Walsh was named the tournament's most outstanding player and led the Cardinal with 17 kills in 32 attempts.
CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES: Twelve teams are making their first appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. They are American, Butler, Cal State Sacramento, Chattanooga, Fairfield, Lehigh, Liberty, Michigan, Morgan State, Temple, Tennessee Tech and Villanova. Four institutions have played in all 17 championships: Pacific, Penn State, Stanford and UC Santa Barbara.
1997 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCES
17th APPEARANCE (every year since 1981) (4 teams)
16th APPEARANCE (5 teams)
15th APPEARANCE (1 team)
13th APPEARANCE (1 team)
12th APPEARANCE (1 team)
10th APPEARANCE (2 teams)
9th APPEARANCE (4 teams)
8th APPEARANCE (3 teams)
7th APPEARANCE (1 team)
6th APPEARANCE (3 teams)
5th APPEARANCE (2 teams)
4th APPEARANCE (5 teams)
3rd APPEARANCE (7 teams)
2nd APPEARANCE (5 teams)
1st APPEARANCE (12 teams): American, Butler, Cal State Sacramento, Chattanooga, Fairfield, Lehigh, Liberty, Michigan, Morgan State, Temple, Tennessee Tech, Villanova.