Nov. 26, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Irish are dancing for the first time in five seasons. The University of Notre Dame volleyball team has been selected to play in the 2017 NCAA Championships, making its first appearance since the 2012 season. The Irish are headed to Lexington, Kentucky, to take on Western Kentucky at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 1 in the first round.
Notre Dame (22-9, 12-8 ACC) finished the regular season strong, winning six of its last seven matches to build momentum heading into postseason play. The Irish have a number of notable victories this season, including defeating then-No. 24 Ohio State (9/10), No. 23 Michigan State (9/15) and No. 21 Florida State (10/1).
Friday's matchup against the Hilltoppers will be the first meeting between the two programs. Western Kentucky is 30-3 on the season and earned an automatic bid into the field by winning the Conference USA Tournament title.
With a victory, Notre Dame will play the winner of No. 4 seed Kentucky and ETSU for a chance to move on to the round of 16.
Irish head coach Jim McLaughlin is no stranger to the NCAA Championships, as Notre Dame's 2017 selection marks the 20th time one of his teams will play in the tournament.
McLaughlin has led six teams to semifinal appearances (four times on the women's side and twice with men's teams) and has captured two NCAA national championships. McLaughlin is the only coach in NCAA history with a national championship on both the men's and women's sides.
Notre Dame In The NCAA Championships
- Notre Dame owns a 14-18 record in 18 previous trips to the NCAA Championship.
- The Irish have an all-time record of 11-7 in their first match of the tournament.
- Notre Dame has advanced to at least the NCAA Championship round of 16 on six occasions.
- Notre Dame's best finish at the NCAA Championships came in 1993, when the Irish advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating No. 8 Nebraska and Minnesota.
- The last time the Irish made it to the second weekend of play came in 2005, when Notre Dame defeated Dayton and Northwestern in the first two rounds at home to advance to the round of 16.
- The Irish played Ohio State in their last match in the NCAA Championships on Nov. 30, 2012, in Lexington, Kentucky.
The 64-team NCAA Championship field is comprised of 32 automatic-qualifying teams and 32 at-large squads. The top 16 teams in the bracket are seeded. Six ACC programs made the field, doubling last season's total.
Notre Dame faced seven teams that made the NCAA field this season. The Irish went 6-5 against those seven squads with victories over Florida State (2), Miami (FL), Michigan State, NC State and VCU.
Tickets for the first two rounds of the NCAA Championships go on sale at 9 a.m. ET. To purchase tickets, click here.
The tournament's semifinals and finals will be held Dec. 14 and 16 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information on the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, including a complete bracket, log onto ncaa.com.
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Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men's lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor's degrees in