Busy day: 48 more teams get after it Friday in the NCAA Tournament

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Eight teams went home Thursday and eight moved on.

There are 48 more teams playing Friday in their NCAA Tournament openers, including top-seeded Nebraska and No. 2 Minnesota. Here’s a look at all 24 matches of those matches. When the dust clears Friday, the field will be down to 28 teams with another 12 matches set for Saturday to get the bracket to the final 16:

James Madison vs. Coastal Carolina at UNC (4:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN3): This is the first match of the drive-in foursome. JMU is 21-10 and won the Colonial Athletic Association to get into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000. Senior right side Janey Goodman leads JMU with 523 kills. She hit .316 and has 101 digs and 101 blocks, seven solo. Bryn Recker has 216 kills and Katie Whitmire 200.

JMU is coached by Lauren Steinbrecher, who went to the NCAA four times as a player at Georgia Tech. She is 128-84 in seven seasons at JMU.

Coastal Carolina is 27-4 and won the Sun Belt in its first season in the league, going 15-1. The Chanticleers have won 17 in a row and is in the tournament for the third consecutive season. Coach Jozsef Forman is 168-81 in his fifth season. His team is led by Leah Hardeman, a junior outside who has 388 kills this season, is hitting .297, and has 32 service aces and 311 digs. Annayka Legros, a 6-5 senior middle, has 289 kills and averages 1.03 blocks per set. She has 106, 34 solo.

JMU and CC last played in 2011.

North Carolina's Julia Scoles is one of xxx/UNC photo
Julia Scoles is one of North Carolina’s many talented freshmen/UNC photo

High Point vs. North Carolina (6:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN3): High Point (23-9) advanced by upsetting Radford in the Big South to get in for the first time since 2010. The Panthers played three ACC teams this season. They beat NC State and Wake Forest and lost to Clemson. Coach Tom Mendoza is in his first year.

Sophomore middle Jordan Hefner has 136 blocks, the most by an HPU player since the program moved to Division I. Her team averaged 2.3 blocks per set. Junior Haley Barnes leads with 414 kills, 3.42 per set, and has 370 digs, 50 blocks and 40 aces. Sophomore middle Molly Livingston has 298 kills and 41 aces to go with 115 blocks.

UNC, the No. 7 seed, is in the tournament for the 18th time and 13th under coach Joe Sagula, who is 575-308 since taking over in 1990.

UNC is loaded with talented young players. Sophomore Taylor Leath was the ACC POY, freshman outside Julia Scoles the ACC freshman of the year and were joined on the ACC first team by senior opposite Taylor Treacy. Leath led with 334 kills, 3.15 per set, Scoles had 278 kills, Treacy 241 and junior middle Taylor Fricano 158 and 143 blocks, 12 solo.

Last year, North Carolina beat North Carolina Wilmington and then was knocked out by Creighton.

High Point and UNC haven’t played since 2004. The Big South is 1-23 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

Cincinnati vs. Florida State at Florida (4:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN3): This has the makings of a tough match. Cincinnati got an at-large from the American Athletic Conference after going 22-9, 17-3 in the AAC. The Bearcats have won six in a row and nine of 10 and are in the NCAA for the first time since 2011. That year they were knocked out in the first round by Florida State.

Cincinnati coach Molly Alvey is 73-85 in five seasons. Her best player is Jordan Tucker, the AAC POY after leading the Bearcats in kills with 552 and averaging 5.42 per set. Sophomore Jade Tingelhoff averaged 11.11 assists and 2.64 digs.

Florida State is 24-5 and was second to UNC in the ACC at 17-3. Coach Chris Poole, who took the Seminoles to the 2011 national semifinals, is 235-58 in nine seasons.

Junior outside Milica Kubura leads with 345 kills, 3.05 kills/set, while senior middle Mara Green is hitting .374. Senior middle Melanie Keil has 183 total blocks, 1.63 per set.

In 2015 FSU beat Arizona State in the first round, also in Gainesville, but then lost to Florida in four.

Alabama State vs. Florida (7 p.m. Eastern, ESPN/SEC Plus): The 11th-seeded Gators are in for the 26th time in a row. Alabama State (24-8) won the Southwestern Athletic Conference for the third time in four years under coach Penny Lucas-White, who is facing the Gators in the first round for the second time in three seasons. ASU, which has 12 in a row, all in the SWAC, is led by junior middle Briana Dorsey, who has 281 kills. She is one of four Hornets with 230 kills or more.

Florida packs as good a one-two punch as any team in the country with junior middle Rhamat Alhassan and senior right side Alex Holston. Alhassan has 277 kills, is hitting .422 and has 133 blocks, 21 solo. Holston leads with 366 kills, 3.81 per set, and has 73 blocks. The Gators also get key play from do-everything junior outside Carli Snyder, who has 249 digs, 339 kills and 17 aces.

The Gators are 26-3 overall and tied Missouri for the SEC title at 16-2. They have won 14 of their last 15 matches. Coach Mary Wise, in her 26th season, is 793-98. Last year, her team lost in the regional final at Texas in a five-setter that included a controversial in-out call that went against the Gators.

Texas A&M's Jazzmin Babers, left, and Stephanie Aiple block Missouri's Emily Thater/Sam Craft/Texas A&M Athletics
Texas A&M’s Jazzmin Babers, left, and Stephanie Aiple/Sam Craft, Texas A&M Athletics photo

SMU vs. Texas A&M at Texas (4 p.m. Central, Longhorn Network): This is an all-Texas affair in Austin. SMU, which lost to Purdue in its first NCAA Tournament last year, is 25-7 after winning the American Athletic Conference at 18-2.

Senior Morgan Heise leads SMU. She was named the AAC libero of the year for the third straight season and averaged 5.16 digs per set.

Junior right side Katie Hegarty led the Mustangs with 436 kills. She had 188 digs and 90 blocks. Senior middle Janelle Giordano added 261 kills and 154 blocks, 15 solo.

SMU is coached by Lisa Siefert, 365-287 since taking over in 1996.

Texas A&M is one of those teams that when playing well can beat anyone. But at 21-8 and 15-3 in the SEC, the Aggies were sometimes up and down. They’ve been up of late, winning 10 of their last 11. A&M has a tremendous setter in junior Stephanie Aiple and big-time attackers in senior middle Jazzmin Babers, who has 262 kills and 126 blocks, 15 solo, and sophomore middle Kaitlyn Blake, who has 249 kills and 160 blocks, 18 solo. Junior outside Kiara McGee leads with 332 kills, 3.19 per set.

Laurie Corbelli, in her 24th year, is taking the Aggies to their 20th NCAA Tournament.

SMU and Texas A&M have never met.

UT Rio Grande Valley vs. Texas (6:30 p.m. Central, Longhorn Network): UT Rio Grande Valley is 21-13 and even though it finished 7-7 in the Western Athletic Conference, it won the league’s tournament and automatic bid that comes with it for its first NCAA appearance.

UTRGV’s roster looks like something out of the United Nations. Norwegian outside Ragni Steen Knudsen leads with 3.48 kills per set, while Serbian Bojana Mitrovic adds with 3.13 kills. The roster has players from Senegal, Poland, Mexico, Brazil and even Texas, including senior outside Alisha Watson, who averages 3.11 kills and 1.45 digs. The team is coached by Todd Lowery, who is 33-32 in his second season.

Fourth-seeded Texas is 22-4 and finished second in the Big 12 at 14-2. The Longhorns, who lost in last year’s title match to Nebraska, are as powerful as any team in the country with freshman outside Micaya White leading the way. She has a team-best 399 kills and averages 4.07 per set. Ebony Nwanebu has 338 kills, is averaging 3.67 per set and has had a strong overall season after missing all but one match of 2015. Paulina Prieto Cerame is averaging 3.55 kills and has stretches where the senior can carry a team. Sophomore middle Morgan Johnson leads with 124 blocks, 16 solo.

Coach Jerritt Elliott, who took the Longhorns to the 2012 title and is seeking his fifth consecutive trip to the national semifinals, is 401-92 in his 16th season. Texas is making its 12 consecutive NCAA appearance.

Texas hasn’t played UTRGV or SMU, but earlier this season swept A&M.

Dayton vs. Pittsburgh at Penn State (5 p.m. Eastern, PSU video link)

Dayton has the best record in the nation at 30-1. But the Atlantic 10 champions were not happy about being sent to Penn State for the third year in a row. The Flyers are riding a 19-match winning streak, fourth best in the country. Coach Tim Horsmon is having great success in his second go-round at Dayton. He was 128-43 from 2003-07, left for Maryland, and since returning in 2014 he’s 88-13.

Dayton’s go-to player is junior outside Jessica Sloan, who leads with 408 kills, 3.92 per set, and 201 digs. Sophomore outside Lauren Bruns, 298 kills, and junior middle Amber Erhahon with 296, give the Flyers a balanced attack. Erhahon has 127 blocks, 11 solo. Junior setter Jane Emmenecker is having a great season and so is sophomore libero Margo Wolf, averaging 4.99 digs. Dayton is 11-0 on the road this season.

Pittsburgh is 24-8 and got an at-large from the ACC. The Panthers were hot early, grinded during the middle of the season when they lost four of five, but have won four in a row and 10 of 11. Coach Dan Fisher is 91-37 in his fourth year.

Freshman Stephanie Williams is having a big season. She leads Pittsburgh with 438 kills, 3.78 per set, and has 286 digs and 45 blocks. Junior outside Mariah Bell has 382 kills, 228 digs and 50 blocks. Freshman middle Layne Van Buskirk has 243 kills and 73 blocks. And senior middle Jenna Potts has 194 kills and 150 blocks, 13 solo.

The last time these teams met was in 2014.

LIU Brooklyn vs. Penn State (7:30 p.m. Eastern, PSU video link):

Penn State got the 16th seed and with it LIU Brooklyn, which finished 16-14 after winning the Northeast Conference tournament and the bid that goes with it. The Blackbirds tied for second in the regular season, but upset top-seeded Sacred Heart in the NEC final. LIU Brooklyn coach Ken Ko is in his second season and is 30-28.

Senior Alex Larsen leads the Blackbirds with 306 kills.

Penn State might be 22-9 with its most defeats since 1987, but Penn State is Penn State and the same program that has won seven national titles and six of eight before getting knocked out last year in the regional semifinal by Hawai’i.

The coach, of course, is Russ Rose, the winningest active NCAA coach and in his 38th season. His overall record is 1,211-195.

Junior outside Simone Lee leads the Penn State offense. She has 455 kills, averaging 4.17 kills, and 170 digs, 53 blocks and 15 aces. Senior middle Haleigh Washington has hit 4.38 this season and has 265 kills and a team-best 124 blocks. She also had 24 aces. Freshman middle Tori Gorrell  had 185 kills and 110 blocks. Junior Ali Frantti has 258 kills and 195 digs.

Penn State has been a first- and second-round host for 27 years in a row. The Nittany Lions are 14-2 at home this season, losing only to North Carolina and Nebraska.

Cleveland State vs. Arizona at Michigan State (5 p.m. Eastern, live video link):

This is the kind of matchup that makes the NCAA Tournament so much fun. Cleveland State, 25-5, won the Horizon League regular-season and conference-tournament titles. This is the first matchup between these schools.

The Vikings are led by senior outside Grace Kauth, whose 409 kills and 324 digs established her as the best player in the Horizon this season. Junior middle Alexis Middlebrooks has 317 kills and 116 blocks, 15 solo. Coach Chuck Voss is 316-194 in his 17th season, winning 20 more more matches seven times. His team has won 16 of its last 17 matches. Last year in the NCAA Tournament, the Vikings lost to USC in four in the first round.

Arizona coach Dave Rubio is the dean of Pac-12 coaches, 477-291 in 25 seasons. His team was up and down all season, finishing 18-14, 10-10, and makes its seventh NCAA appearance in eight years. His Wildcats — who have lost four of their last six matches — have one of the best athletes and versatile players in the game in senior setter Penina Snuka, who averaged 10.71 assists and three digs. Kendra Dahlke leads with 4.03 kills per set and Kalei Mau is right behind at 3.97.

Arizona was swept by Western Kentucky in the first round of the 2015 NCAA tourney.

Megan Theiller and her Fairfield teammates have a tough task at Michigan State
Megan Theiller and her Fairfield teammates have a tough task at Michigan State

Fairfield vs. Michigan State (7:30 p.m. Eastern, live video link):

Fairfield won the Metro Atlantic Athletic, is 28-5 and is riding the nation’s longest winning streak at 22 matches. The Stags are coached by Todd Kress, 162-72 in two stints as head coach at the Connecticut school. He has two big guns in junior outside Skyler Day, who leads with 474 kills, 29 aces, 274 digs and 28 blocks. Junior outside Megan Theiller has 460 kills, 27 aces, 310 digs and 44 blocks. And senior middle Megan O’Sullivan has 261 kills and 120 blocks, 24 solo.

Michigan State is the ninth seed after finishing 24-8, 13-7 and fifth in the Big Ten. Coach Cathy George is 231-162 in 11 seasons at State. In 1989 she took Texas-Arlington to the national semifinals. This is her sixth consecutive NCAA at-large bid and this team’s 24 wins are the most for MSU since 1996.

Junior outside Autumn Bailey leads with 331 kills, 3.15 per set, and 284 digs. Senior outside Chloe Reinig has 275 kills and 92 blocks, while junior middle Alyssa Garvelink has 258 kills and 153 blocks, 14 solo.

Last year in the tournament, the Spartans swept Arkansas State before losing to Washington in four.

Wichita State vs. TCU at Nebraska (4:30 p.m. Central, live video link):

Wichita State is 24-7. The Shockers finished second in the Missouri Valley but then beat Missouri State in the league tournament final. They are making the program’s 10th NCAA appearance. Last year, the Shockers beat Kansas State before losing to Nebraska.

They are led by junior outside Mikaela Raudsepp, who had 316 kills and 37 blocks. Sophomore outside Tabitha Brown has 307 kills and 145 digs. Senior outside Jody Larson has 306 kills and 334 digs. Junior middle Abbie Lehman has 287 kills and 132 blocks, 24 solo.

TCU, 14-12 overall and 7-9 in the Big 12, got an at-large based on its NCAA RPI and strength of schedule. Coach Jill Kramer’s Horned Frogs lost to Hawai’i in the first round last year. Kramer is 33-22 in her second season.

Her team is led by senior outside Sarita Mikals, who has 204 kills and is one of seven players with 147 or more kills. Mikals also has 297 digs. Senior middle Regan McGuire has 196 kills and 101 blocks, while senior middle Natalie Gower has 196 kills and 127 blocks.

New Hampshire vs. Nebraska (7 p.m. Central, live video link):

UNH is 21-10 after winning the America East with a 10-2 record. The Wildcats have won the AE title four years in a row. Last year, they were swept by Washington in the first round. The leader is Demi Muses, the AE player of the year. She has 350 kills, 349 digs and 79 blocks, 13 solo.

It’s obviously an uphill battle against top-seeded Nebraska, which is 14-1 at home and 27-2 overall. The Huskers won the Big Ten title at 18-2 and their roster is a Who’s Who of today’s college volleyball, from the Rolfzen twins, middle Amber and right side Kadie, to setter Kelly Hunter, libero Justine Wong-Orantes and outside Mikaela Foecke. Throw in middle Briana Holman and outside Andie Malloy and, well, you have a team that is the pick of most to win this tournament.

USC setter Alice Pizzasegola scrambles for a ball deflected by the block/Photo Credit: Ed Chan, VBshots.com
USC setter Alice Pizzasegola scrambles for a ball deflected by the block/Photo Credit: Ed Chan, VBshots.com

USC vs. Hawai’i at Minnesota (4:30 p.m. Central, live video link)

This one should not only be a fun match, it pits two coaching legends.

USC is 18-13 and rode the roller coaster all season. Veteran coach Mick Haley is 5-11 lifetime against Hawai’i and another veteran coach, Dave Shoji. Haley is 410-108 in 16 seasons at USC, which is making the school’s 26th consecutive NCAA appearance.

A freshman leads USC. Khalia Lanier leads with 465 kills, almost 200 more than her closest teammate. The outside hitter is averaging 4.01 kills per set, has 24 aces and 302 digs. Sophomore outside  Alyse Ford has 272 kills and 205 digs. Junior Niki Withers has 284 kills and 67 blocks. Senior middle Elise Ruddins has 214 kills and 130 blocks, 22 solo.

Last year USC beat Cleveland State, San Diego and Creighton before losing to Kansas in the regional final.

Shoji is 1,201-203-1 in 42 seasons, all at Hawai’i. His win total is second only to Penn State’s Rose. This season Hawai’i is 22-5 and won the Big West with a 15-1 record. These two programs have not played since 2011.

Hawai’i is making its 24th consecutive NCAA appearance and everything the Rainbow Wahine do revolves around senior opposite Nikki Taylor. She leads them with 363 kills, is hitting .280, averages 4.59 kills per set and has 186 digs and 91 blocks. Sophomore outside McKenna Granato has 271 kills and 155 digs.

Last year, Hawai’i beat TCU and Texas A&M, then knocked out Penn State in the regional semifinals before losing to Minnesota in four.

North Dakota vs. Minnesota (7 p.m. Central, live video link)

Big Sky champion North Dakota is 26-9 and has won 11 in a row, including all three matches in the league tournament.

Coach Mark Pryor is 73-31 in three seasons at UND. His team is led by three players with more than 300 kills, senior middle Chelsea Moser with 327, junior outside Tamara Merseli with 362 and junior middle Faith Dooley with 311. Moser has 27 aces and 101 blocks, Merseli has 477 digs, and Dooley 144 blocks, 25 solo.

Minnesota is the No. 2 seed and 13-0 at home. The Gophers, who went to last year’s national semifinals, have won 10 matches in a row and are 25-4, including 17-3 in the Big Ten. Coach Hugh McCutcheon, who served as both the USA men’s and women’s Olympic coach, is 130-35 in his fifth season.

The Gophers boast Big Ten player of the year in senior Sarah Wilhite and setter of the year in sophomore Samantha Seliger-Swenson. Wilhite has 451 kills this season, 284 digs, 27 aces and 52 blocks. Throw in the Tapp sisters, Hannah and Paige, and Alexis Hart and Molly Lohman, and it’s a tough one for North Dakota.

Missouri State vs. Ohio State at Kansas State (5 p.m. Central, ESPN3): Missouri State is 26-8 and got an at-large after losing in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final. This is Missouri State’s 12th NCAA appearance. The program is 1-11 in the tournament and last year the Bears lost to Missouri in four in the first round.

The Bears have the MVC player of the year in Lily Johnson and freshman of the year in setter Daniele Messa. Johnson, a junior outside, has a whopping 596 kills, 4.58 per set, and 400 digs. Messa averages 10.34 assists and has 332 digs and 26 blocks.

Coach Melissa Stokes is 464-221 in 22 years at the helm.

Ohio State holds the distinction of beating Nebraska in four in Lincoln this season. But the Buckeyes were all over the place and finished the regular season 20-12, 10-10 in the Big Ten. Coach Geoff Carlston is 384-180 in his ninth season and has team that relies heavily on senior middle Taylor Sandbothe. She leads in kills with 464, 3.90 per set, and blocks with 123, 19 solo. What’s more, her younger sister, Elle, plays for host K-State. Sophomore outside Audra Appold has 332 kills and 244 digs and junior outside Luisa Schirmer 314 kills and 281 digs.

Last year the Buckeyes beat Robert Morris and American before being ousted by Washington.

Lipscomb vs. Kansas State (7:30 p.m. Central, ESPN3): Lipscomb, champion of the Atlantic Sun, is 22-7 and hopes a tough schedule will pay off when it faces No. 14 seed K-State. Lipscomb is 0-6 in the NCAA Tournament but this one is special, since Lipscomb outside hitter Carlyle Nusbaum and libero Brittany Thomas are both from Overland Park, Kansas. Right side Chloe Rogers is from Stillwell, Kansas. Lipscomb associate head coach Billy Ebel is also from Kansas. This is the seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament for Lipscomb and their third in a row.

Sophomore outside Nusbaum is the focal point of the offense. She has 483 kills, and her next closest teammate is sophomore outside Lauren Anderson, who has 298. Nusbaum, the A-10 player of the  year, also has 218 digs and 47 blocks, 13 solo.

Coach Brandon Rosenthal is 264-168 in 14 seasons.

Kansas State is another team with a more impressive RPI than record. The Wildcats are 20-9 and were 9-7 in the Big 12. This is K-State’s fifth NCAA appearance in six years and its first time to be a host.

Coach Susie Fritz is 315-177 in her 16th year. Her team is led by senior outside Brooke Sassin, who has 342 kills and 252 digs. Junior opposite Bryna Vogel has 305 kills and 305 digs. The aforementioned Sandbothe, a freshman middle, plays sparingly and has 50 kills and 52 blocks. Senior setter Katie Brand made the Big 12 first team for the third straight time.

Kansas State lost to Wichita State in last year’s first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Boise State vs. Western Kentucky at Stanford (4:30 p.m. Pacific, Pac-12 Networks): Boise State took the Mountain West title from Colorado State after going 25-6, 16-2 in the conference. The Broncos, on a 14-match winning streak, are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time and play WKU for the first time.

Boise State is led by MW POY Sierra Nobley, a junior outside who has 493 kills, 4.56 per set, 290 digs and 20 aces. senior middle Maddy O’Donnell has 301 kills and sophomore outside Sabryn Roberts 294. O’Donnell has 137 blocks, 13 solo. Junior Maddie Osburn has had a big season at libero, averaging 4.85 digs.

Boise is coached by Shawn Garus, 142-105 in eight seasons.

WKU is 30-2, second in record only to Dayton this season. The Lady Toppers went 14-0 in Conference USA and then won the league tournament. Coach Travis Hudson is 559-198 in his 22nd year and his team has won 22 in a row since losing to Michigan State in five on Sept. 10.

Junior outside Alyssa Cavanaugh leads with 499 kills, 4.38 per set. Sophomore middle Rachel Anderson has 393 kills and 97 blocks. Junior setter Jessica Lucas has 147 kills and 68 blocks, while sophomore right side Amara Listenbee has 111 kills and 102 blocks.

In last year’s tournament, WKU swept Arizona before getting swept by BYU.

Stanford's Inky Ajanaku blocks Washington State's Taylor Mims/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku leads the Cardinal into the NCAA Tournament/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Denver vs. Stanford (7 p.m. Pacific, Pac-12 Networks): Summit League-champion Denver is 23-8 after going 13-3 in the conference. The Pioneers are just 9-7 away from home, not a good thing with having to go to Stanford. They won the league and then finished up with a non-conference loss at Long Beach State.

Denver is led by junior right side Kayla Principato, who has 336 kills and 100 blocks. Senior middle Ruth Okoye has 237 kills and 122 blocks. First-year coach Tom Hogan took over when Jesse Mahoney left for Colorado.

Stanford, 21-7, finished 15-5 in the Pac-12 and overcame losing Hayley Hodson, a sophomore outside who was an All-American as a freshman, when she took a medical leave from school early in the season. With senior middle Inky Ajanaku leading the way with 271 kills and 154 blocks, 11 solo, freshman Kathryn Plummer flourished. She led the team with 343 kills and has 100 blocks and 168 digs. Audriana Fitzmorris, another freshman, has 258 kills and 151 blocks. Junior middle Merete Lutz had 246 kills and 114 kills. And freshman setter Jenna Gray did a nice job for the Cardinal, which was replacing four-year starter Madi Bugg.

Stanford, which has been to the NCAA Tournament 35 years in a row and made the 2014 final four, has six national titles, the last in 2008. Coach John Dunning is in his 16th season with a record of 445-83.

UNLV vs. Utah at BYU (5 p.m. Mountain, BYUtv.org): UNLV, which got an at-large bid, finished 23-7, 12-6 in the Mountain West. The only other time UNLV got into the NCAA Tournament was 2007. Coach Cindy Frederick is 113-70 in her sixth season.

Bree Hammel leads with 423 kills, 3.85 per set. Four others have 193 kills or more, including Sadie Stutzman with 248. Elsa Descamps has 222 kills and leads with 137 blocks, 11 solo.

Utah is back in the tournament for the first time since 2014 and its 13th NCAA appearance overall. The Utes are 20-11 and went 11-9 in the Pac-12. Coach Beth Launiere is 521-335 in her 26th year as the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12.

Anae Adora is a big blaster for Utah. She has 571 kills, 4.68 per set, and leads with 394 digs. Carly Trueman has 331 kills and Tawnee Luafalemana has 252 kills and 127 blocks.

Lacy Haddock, Amy Boswell, Lyndie Haddock
BYU’s Lacy Haddock, Amy Boswell, and Lyndie Haddock celebrated all the way to a WCC championship/Photo Credit: Ed Chan, VBshots.com.

Princeton vs. BYU (7 p.m. Mountain, BYUtv.org): Princeton is 19-4, won the Ivy League and brings to BYU the two-time Ivy POY in senior outside Cara Mattaliano and the conference freshman of the year in middle Maggie O’Connell. Their coach, Sabrina King, was the coach of the year. She is 88-57.

Mattaliano leads with 308 kills and 34 aces, O’Connell has 246 kills and freshman Devon Peterkin has 206.

BYU won the West Coast Conference and is the No. 13 seed. The Cougars are 27-3 and went 16-2 in the WCC. In 2014, BYU lost in the NCAA national-championship match to Penn State. Coach Heather Olmstead took over the next year and has a two-year mark of 55-7.

Freshman outside McKenna Miller leads with 428 kills. Senior middle Amy Boswell has 318 kills and 131 blocks, 12 solo. Senior middle Whitney Young Howard has 198 kills and 125 blocks, 13 solo.

Last year, BYU beat Ohio and Western Kentucky before losing to Nebraska.

Kirstie Hillyer
CSU freshman Kirstie Hillyer hits a slide/Photo Credit: Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Colorado State vs. Kentucky at Washington (5 p.m. Pacific, Pac-12 Networks): Colorado State, which has dominated the Mountain West for years, got a rare at-large bid after going 21-8, 15-3 in the MW. The Rams have won seven of eight. Coach Tom Hilbert, who got his 500th victory earlier this season, is 509-121 in 19 seasons. His team is led by junior outside Sanja Cizmic, who has 327 kills, 99 digs and 60 blocks. Junior outside Jasmine Hanna has 314 kills and 65 blocks, 15 solo. freshman middle Kirstie Hillyer has 255 kills and 160 blocks, 17 solo. And junior middle Alexandra Poletto has 241 kills and 127 blocks, 14 solo.

Kentucky hasn’t played Colorado State since 1987. The Wildcats are in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th year in a row after finishing the regular season 22-7, 15-3 in the SEC. Freshman outside hitter Leah Edmond leads the Wildcats with 419 kills and averages 4.23 kills per set. She also has 52 blocks and 192 digs. Junior middle Kaz Brown has 257 kills and 141 blocks, 13 solo. Sophomore setter Olivia Dailey has had a great season, averaging 11.82 assists, and junior libero Ashley Dusek averages 4.83 digs.

Coach Craig Skinner is 272-108 in his 12th season.

Second-year Washington coach Keegan Cook/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Second-year Washington coach Keegan Cook/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs. Washington (7:30 Pacific, Pac-12 Networks): TAMUCC has swept 31 matches over two conference seasons and 13 of the Islanders’ 24 wins this season were sweeps. They are 24-7 and overpowered the Southland Conference this season. Junior outside hitter Brittany Gilpin, the league POY, leads with 403 kills, 3.89 per set, 304 digs and 62 blocks, 11 solo. Senior right side Morgan Carlson has 312 kills and sophomore middle Madi Fitzsimmons 202. Coach Steven Green is finishing his first year. He took over a team that went 31-5 in 2015 and lost to his old team, where he was an assistant last year, Texas A&M, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Pac-12-champion Washington is one of the most balanced and powerful teams in the nation. The Huskies, the No. 8 seed, are 24-6 and boast the Pac-12 POY in Courtney Schwan, a junior outside who averaged 3.76 kills and hit .311. She also averaged 2.79 digs. Schwan had 399 kills, just ahead of junior outside hitter Tia Scambray, who had 333 and 312 digs. Freshman middle Kara Bajema had 177 kills and 126 blocks, 10 solo. Freshman middle Avie Niece had 86 kills and 91 blocks.

UW is coached by Keegan Cook, who took over in 2015, went 31-3 and won a share of the league title. In the NCAA Tournament the Huskies beat Denver, Michigan State and Ohio State before falling to Nebraska in the regional final. Washington is going to the tournament for the 15th year in a row.

Kramer, Lisa
USD’s Lisa Kramer leads the Toreros with 362 kills this season/Photo Credit: Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Baylor vs. San Diego at UCLA, 5:30 p.m. Pacific, live video feed):

San Diego was disappointed not to get a seed and be a host. Baylor, which went 24-6 this season, 9-7 in the big 12, was thrilled to get an at-large and be at UCLA. The Bears have one of the country’s best hitters in junior outside Katie Staiger, who set the Baylor record for kills, 664, second best in Big 12 history. She averaged 5.53 kills per set and also had 328 digs, 32 aces  and 66 blocks. Sophomore outside Aniah Philo has 267 kills and junior middle Camryn Freiberg 222 kills and 139 blocks, 16 solo.

Coach Ryan McGuyre is in his second season with a record of 41-19. Baylor is 3-4 in NCAA play, last winning a match in 2009. The Bears also last played San Diego in 1988.

San Diego, once ranked as high as fifth, had a tough end to the season and is 24-5 after finishing second to BYU in the West Coast Conference. Coach Jennifer Petrie is 346-125 in her 16th season. She’s taken the Toreros to the NCAA Tournament 13 times, including last year when USD knocked off Northern Arizona before losing to USC.

Lisa Kramer has been the go-to player this season. The senior right side has 362 kills, averaging 4.21 per set, and 32 blocks. Senior middle Lauren Schad has 262 kills and 66 blocks, while junior right side Kaity Edwards had 227 kills, 65 blocks and 22 aces. Sophomore outside Lauren Fuller has 221 kills, 172 digs and 22 aces.

Jordan Anderson
UCLA’s Jordan Anderson keeps her eyes on the ball/Photo Credit: Ed Chan, VBshots.com.

Murray State vs. UCLA, 8 p.m. Pacific, live video feed):

Murray State is 23-8 and the Ohio Valley champs have won 15 matches in a row. The Racers are in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years after losing to Illinois in 2014 and didn’t get in last year after going 27-3, losing in the OVC tourney.

Coach David Schwepker is in his 19th season.

Senior outside Scottie Ingram is a fabulous all-around player and leads the Racers with 506 kills, 4.32 per set. She also has 401 digs and 42 blocks, 11 solo. Senior right side Kristen Besselsen has 272 kills, 230 digs and 41 blocks.

UCLA, which won the NCAA title in 2011, makes its 34th NCAA appearance. The Bruins are 17-0 in first-round matches and is a host for the 11th time in 14 years.

Reily Buechler leads the Bruins with 362 kills, 3.18 per set. She also has 253 digs, 47 blocks — 14 solo — and 21 aces. Jordan Anderson has 350 kills, 3.15 per set, and 124 digs and 46 blocks, 12 solo. Torrey Van Winden has 270 kills and 62 blocks, and Jennie Frager has 250 kills and 125 blocks, 17 solo.

Senior Taylor Formico, the Pac-12 libero of the year, averages 5.03 digs.

The Bruins, 24-6 including 15-5 in the Pac-12, are coached by Mike Sealy, who is 161-64 in his seventh year. His team has won six of its last seven matches.

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