And down the stretch they come …

The final week of the regular NCAA Division I women’s volleyball season is upon us. Quite a few conferences finished up the past few days with their league tournaments, including Samford winning the Southern Conference title Monday and the automatic NCAA bid that goes with it.

The schedule is light Tuesday, but a few key matches are on tap, including two in the West Coast Conference where No. 10 BYU (26-3, 15-2 WCC) goes to Loyola Marymount and (19-10, 10-7) to keep control of the automatic bid, while rival No. 11 San Diego (24-4, 15-2) travels to Pepperdine (12-17, 6-11). Other WCC matches include St. Mary’s at Santa Clara and Pacific at San Francisco.

The stakes are high in the Mountain West, where Boise State (24-6, 15-2 MW) has broken the Colorado State stranglehold. The Broncos will claim the league’s automatic bid but can win the title outright by beating visiting Air Force, fairly likely considering Air Force is 10-20, 1-16.

Colorado State, 20-8, 14-3, entertains Wyoming, 18-12, 11-6. The Rams, No. 48 in the NCAA RPI and hoping for an at-large bid, are aiming for a win that would boost their chances of earning their 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament trip.

Also in the Mountain West, UNLV plays New Mexico and Fresno State plays San Jose State.

Also on tap is a Big West match between UC Davis and Cal Poly, the Northeast Conference’s Stony Brook travels to America East’s LIU Brooklyn, and the Big Sky’s Weber State goes to the Mountain West’s Utah State.

SoCon title goes to Samford

When Keylor Chan was fired at Northwestern last year, he quickly landed at Samford, a small private school in Birmingham, Ala., and the move paid off Monday. His third-seeded Bulldogs beat top-seeded Chattanooga 25-19, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22 to earn Samford’s third NCAA bid. Samford also won in 2011 and 2014.

Samford, which was the host for the tournament, is 21-13, while Chattanooga’s season ended 19-13.

Samford’s Erin Bognar was named the SoCon tourney MVP after getting 28 kills and 16 digs in the title match. The senior hit .333.

NCAA Division II field set

The NCAA announced the bracket on Monday for the tournament that starts Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 at eight first-round sites.

Eight eight-team regionals will be played at on-campus sites. Regional competition will be single-elimination, best three-of-five-set matches and will not include a third-place match. The winners of each of the eight regionals will advance to the finals, Dec. 8-10, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and Sioux Falls Sports Authority will serve as hosts. Competition at the finals site will be single-elimination; best three-of-five-set matches.

Atlantic Region:

Hosted by Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, West Virginia – Dec. 2-4

No. 1 Wheeling Jesuit (38-2) vs. No. 8 Shaw (22-7)

No. 2 Gannon (30-3) vs. No. 7 Fairmont State (21-13)

No. 3 Edinboro (23-8) vs. No. 6 Shippensburg (26-7)

No. 4 Pittsburgh-Johnstown (24-9) vs. No. 5 California (Pennsylvania) (22-9)

Central Region:

Hosted by Concordia University, St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota – Dec. 1-3

No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul (29-2) vs. No. 8 Southern Nazarene (20-10)

No. 2 Southwest Minnesota State (26-5) vs. No. 7 Wayne State (Nebraska) (24-7)

No. 3 Nebraska-Kearney (35-1) vs. No. 6 Augustana (South Dakota) (26-5)

No. 4 Minnesota Duluth (25-4) vs. No. 5 Winona State (26-5)

East Region:

Hosted by Daemen College, Amherst, New York – Dec. 1-3

No. 1 New York Institute of Technology (28-5) vs. No. 8 Adelphi (20-12)

No. 2 Daemen (23-7) vs. No. 7 Post (26-5)

No. 3 New Haven (19-8) vs. No. 6 Philadelphia U. (29-4)

No. 4 American International (25-6) vs. No. 5 Le Moyne (22-6)

Midwest Region:

Hosted by Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan – Dec. 1-3

No. 1 Ferris State (28-5) vs. No. 8 Truman (18-16)

No. 2 Findlay (21-9) vs. No. 7 Cedarville (26-8)

No. 3 Lewis (25-7) vs. No. 6 Ashland (23-10)

No. 4 Rockhurst (27-6) vs. No. 5 Saginaw Valley State (19-11)

South Region:                                          

Hosted by Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida – Dec. 1-3

No. 1 Palm Beach Atlantic (28-3) vs. No. 8 Kentucky State (22-17)

No. 2 Saint Leo (20-11) vs. No. 7 Florida Southern (20-10)

No. 3 Tampa (22-8) vs. No. 6 Lynn (20-10)

No. 4 West Florida (25-9) vs. No. 5 North Alabama (29-5)

Southeast Region:

Hosted by University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, South Carolina – Dec. 2-4

No. 1 South Carolina Aiken (28-4) vs. No. 8 Barton (22-8)

No. 2 Wingate (29-5) vs. No. 7 Queens (North Carolina) (20-9)

No. 3 Flagler (23-6) vs. No. 6 Lander (21-11)

No. 4 Armstrong St. (25-7) vs. No. 5 Lincoln Memorial (25-8)

South Central Region:      

Hosted by Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas – Dec. 1-3

No. 1 Angelo State (31-3) vs. No. 8 Texas A&M-Kingsville (26-9)

No. 2 MSU Denver (25-4) vs. No. 7 Colorado Mesa (18-9)

No. 3 Tarleton State (26-6) vs. No. 6 Regis (Colorado) (18-11)

No. 4 Colorado School of Mines (24-6) vs. No. 5 Arkansas-Fort Smith (24-5)

West Region:

Hosted by University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska – Dec. 1-3

No. 1 Alaska Anchorage (29-2) vs. No. 8 Chico State (23-7)

No. 2 Cal State San Bernardino (24-4) vs. No. 7 Central Washington (17-11)

No. 3 Western Washington (21-7) vs. No. 6 California Baptist (20-8)

No. 4 Simon Fraser (21-7) vs. No. 5 Northwest Nazarene (20-7)

Click here to read the entire NCAA story and see the bracket.

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