By Jen Armson-Dyer
Last weekend marked the beginning of the run for the 2010 NCAA Championship title in Kansas City as the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament were held on the campuses of 16 schools. Through some truly outstanding competition, the field was narrowed down to 16 who will compete this weekend for a berth in the NCAA National Semifinals, held in Kansas City on Dec. 16. Below is a look at what happened next weekend and a preview of what’s to come:
Austin, Texas, Regional Bracket
In Gainesville, Fla., the top-seeded Gators swept South Carolina State in First Round action while Florida State claimed the win over Georgia Southern in four games. Saturday night in the Second Round matchup, Florida overcame a 12-7 deficit and an official’s replay following a disputed call in the fifth game to knot the score at 13-13. The teams traded points twice before a kill by junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel, her 18th of the match, gave the Gators the 17-15 victory. Junior opposite/setter Kelly Murphy led Florida with 19 kills and 21 assists and became only the 17th player in school history to record more than 1,000 career kills. The Regional Semifinal appearance is the 19th for the Gators in the last 20 years.
In West Lafayette, Ind., 16th-seeded Purdue claimed a four-game victory over Kentucky while Louisville swept Middle Tennessee in First Round action. Saturday night the Boilermakers claimed a tight four-game victory over Louisville. Junior Tiffany Fisher and sophomore Ariel Turner posted 12 and 11 kills, respectively, for Purdue, who also came up big on the defensive end. The Boilermakers out-dug the Cardinals 62-41, led by four players in double-digit digs, including sophomore Carley Cramer. This will be the third NCAA Regional Semifinal appearance in the last six years for Purdue.
In Austin, Texas, the ninth-seeded Longhorns swept Texas-San Antonio and UCLA outlast American in five games on Friday night. On Saturday, Texas senior outside hitter Juliann Faucette pounded 17 kills to lead the squad to a four-game victory over the Bruins. Freshman setter Hannah Allison returned from injury to see her first real action in more than two months to contribute 24 assists and a much-needed spark, according to head coach Jerritt Elliott. With the win the Longhorns advance to their fifth consecutive NCAA Regional Semifinal and the 23rd in program history.
In Champaign, Ill., eighth-seeded Illinois swept Austin Peay and Cincinnati downed Western Kentucky in three games on Friday night. On Saturday night, Illinois avenged an earlier loss to the Bearcats as they claimed the four-game victory. Colleen Ward blitzed the Cincinnati defense with 27 kills, the fourth-most by an Illinois player in an NCAA Tournament match.
The NCAA Regional Semifinal in Austin, Texas, is the only one of the four brackets with all four nationally-seeded teams remaining. On Friday at 6:00 p.m. ET, No. 1 seed Florida takes on No. 16 seed Purdue, and following at 8:00 p.m. ET, No. 8 seed Illinois will face host and No. 9 seed Texas, in a rematch from earlier this year was claimed by the Fighting Illini.
University Park, Pa., Regional Bracket
In University Park, Pa., fourth-seed Penn State swept Niagara in three games while Virginia Tech claimed the three-game victory over Delaware. On Saturday, the Nittany Lions swept Virginia Tech behind senior opposite Blair Brown’s 11 kills. The NCAA Regional appearance is the 22nd time in program history for Penn State, and the 18th in the last 20 seasons. Penn State is 44-3 in NCAA matches at Rec Hall.
In Norman, Okla., Tulsa swept 13th-seed LSU while Oklahoma swept Wichita State in First Round action. On Saturday, Oklahoma outlasted Tulsa in five games as junior outside hitter Caitlin Higgins led five Sooner players in double-digit kills with 18 on .326 hitting. Junior setter Brianne Barker recorded the first triple-double in Oklahoma school history with a career-high 10 kills, 57 assists and 14 digs while freshman middle hitter Sallie McLaurin added in 16 kills and a match-high 10 blocks. This will be the third appearance in the NCAA Regional Semifinals for Oklahoma and the second under head coach Santiago Restrepo, as it previously advanced in 1988 and 2006.
In Durham, N.C., Duke swept High Point and Ohio swept Penn in First Round action. On Saturday, the Blue Devils outlasted the Bobcats in five games, despite 26.0 team blocks by Ohio. Junior opposite Amanda Robertson led Duke with 13 kills. The Blue Devils will be making their first appearance in the NCAA Regional semifinals since 1994, and the second in school history.
In Cedar Falls, Iowa, Missouri outlasted No. 5 seed and host Northern Iowa in five games while Northwestern defeated Arizona in four games. On Saturday, Missouri claimed the four-game win over the Wildcats as Lisa Henning delivered a career-high 18 kills for the Tigers. This will be the second-ever appearance for Missouri in the NCAA Regional semifinals, and the first since 2005.
The NCAA Regional Semifinals in University Park, Pa., will feature Missouri versus No. 12 seed Duke at 5:00 p.m. ET, with No. 4 seed Penn State and Oklahoma following at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Dayton, Ohio, Regional Bracket
In Stanford, Calif., third-seeded Stanford swept Albany (N.Y.), while Colorado State outlasted Cal State Fullerton in five games. On Saturday, the Cardinal swept the Rams behind 18 kills from senior outside hitter Alix Klineman, the lone player in the match to reach double-digit kills. The NCAA Regional Semifinal appearance will be the fifth consecutive for Stanford.
In Dayton, Ohio, No. 14 seed Dayton swept Butler while Ohio State took down Lipscomb in four games in First Round action. On Saturday, the Buckeyes outlasted the Flyers in an extended five-game match (16-14 in the fifth), behind a career-high-tying 25 kills by senior outside hitter Katie Dull. Junior middle hitter Kelli Barhorst also tied a personal-best with 16 kills for the Buckeyes, who will be making their 12th appearance in the NCAA Regional Semifinals.
In Bloomington, Ind., No. 11 seed Tennessee swept Alabama A&M while Indiana outlasted Miami (Fla.) in five games in the First Round. On Saturday, the Hoosiers again worked their home-court magic to defeat the Volunteers in five games. Sophomore outside hitter Jordan Haverly carried the Hoosier squad with 30 kills, 14 digs and five blocks as seniors Ashley Benson and Taylor Wittmer combined for 11 blocks between them. This will be Indiana’s first appearance in school history in the NCAA Regional Semifinals.
In Los Angeles, Calif., No. 3 seed Southern California swept New Mexico while San Diego swept Long Beach State. On Saturday in the Second Round, USC used 23 kills from junior outside hitter Alex Jupiter to defeat San Diego in four games. The Women of Troy have now won 13 of their last 14 matches dating back to Oct. 15, with the Nov. 7 loss to Stanford the only blemish. This will be the eighth appearance in the NCAA Regional Semifinals for USC in the last 11 seasons.
The NCAA Regional Semifinals in Dayton, Ohio, will feature No. 6 seed Southern California versus Indiana at 4:00 p.m. ET with No. 3 seed Stanford facing off with Ohio State at 6:00 p.m. ET.
Seattle, Wash., Regional Bracket
In Lincoln, Neb., No. 2 seed Nebraska swept Sacred Heart while Auburn swept Missouri State in First Round action. On Friday in the Second Round, the Huskers used 11.0 team blocks and 43 digs to stymie the Tiger offense en route to a three game win. Junior middle hitter Jordan Wilberger posted a match-high eight blocks as freshman opposite Morgan Broekhuis led the Husker offense with eight kills. Nebraska will be making its 27th straight appearance in the NCAA Regional semifinals as it has advanced every year since 1984.
In Seattle, Wash., 15-seed Hawaii swept Portland State while host Washington defeated Michigan in three games. Friday in Second Round action, the Huskies swept the Rainbow Wahine behind 18 kills on .395 hitting from senior outside hitter Kindra Carlson. Senior setter Jenna Hagglund directed the Washington offense to a .328 hitting percentage while the Huskie defense held Hawaii to hitting just .170 for the match. Washington will be making an appearance in the NCAA Regional Semifinals for the first time since 2008 and the sixth time in the last eight years.
In Minneapolis, Minn., No. 10 seed Minnesota swept North Dakota State while Creighton claimed a five-game victory over Iowa State. In the Second Round, the Golden Gophers swept the Bluejays behind 19 kills and nine digs from freshman outside hitter Ashley Wittman as freshman middle hitter Tori Dixon hit .625 with 12 kills, four digs and four solo blocks. Minnesota has now advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the eighth time since 1999 and for the second straight season.
In Berkeley, Calif., seventh-seed California swept Utah State while North Carolina defeated Mississippi in four games. On Saturday in the Second Round, the Golden Bears swept the Tar Heels, led by senior setter Carli Lloyd’s 11th double-double of the year with 38 assists and 10 digs as she directed the offense to a .376 team hitting percentage (43-8-93). Junior outside hitter Tarrah Murrey led the squad with 16 kills. This will be the fifth straight and sixth overall NCAA Regional appearance for Cal.
The NCAA Regional Semifinals in Seattle, Wash., will feature No. 10 seed Minnesota versus No. 7 California at 8:00 p.m. ET before host Washington and No. 2 seed Nebraska meet at 10:00 p.m. ET.
The winners of each of the NCAA Regional Semifinal matches will meet on Saturday, Dec. 11 for the right to advance to the NCAA National Semifinal. All four NCAA Regional Semifinal matches will be televised on ESPNU, with the Dayton Regional at 4:00 p.m. ET, the University Park Regional at 6:30 p.m. ET, the Austin Regional at 9:00 p.m. ET and the Seattle Regional at 11:30 p.m.
The NCAA National Semifinals are slated for Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. The NCAA National Championship match will be played on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.