Sports

Stanford women open NCAA tournament at home

 

The Stanford women's volleyball team drew the 11th overall seed for the NCAA tournament and will host the first two rounds at Maples Pavilion on Friday and Saturday as part of the Gainesville Regional.

The Cardinal (21-7), which finished fourth in the Pac-12, will meet Sacred Heart (22-7) in the first round. Baylor (18-14) and Michigan (20-12) will also come west for the first round.

Friday's winners will meet Saturday for the chance to advance into the Sweet Sixteen and face a team out of the sixth-seeded Northern Iowa bracket, which also includes Niagara, Florida and Missouri.

Stanford, which finished tied with Oregon in the conference standings, has never lost a first-round match in the NCAA tournament. The Cardinal is 9-7 against the NCAA tournament field this season, with all seven losses occurring in conference play. Stanford beat Penn State, Florida, Delaware and Duke in nonconference matches.

The Pac-12 is presented by seven teams. Stanford is joined by seventh-seeded USC, ninth-seeded UCLA, California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona. USC and UCLA each host the first two rounds.

Texas earned the overall No. 1 seed, followed by Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa State. It's the first time in quite awhile there has not been a west coast team among the top four seeds.

Four-time defending national champion Penn State is seeded eighth and appears to be on a collision course with UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen in Lexington should the seeds hold.

Penn State and Stanford are the only two schools to have earned bids to all 31 NCAA championship tournaments. Five teams are making their first appearances in the tournament: Central Michigan, Jackson State, Marquette, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Samford.

Stanford finished second in the conference, to Washington (3.18), in blocks per set with 3.14 and led the Pac-12 with 18.94 digs per set. California was next with 16.52.

Sophomore Carly Wopat has a hitting percentage of .393, tying her with Cal's Kat Brown for second in the Pac-12. Wopat led the conference with 1.59 blocks per set, ahead of Washington's Bianca Rowland's 1.50.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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