BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The No. 17 Western Kentucky University volleyball team learned Sunday afternoon its destination and opponent for the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, as the Lady Toppers will face Loyola Marymount on Friday, November 30 at 7:30 p.m. CT in Palo Alto, Calif.
“This is not what we were expecting,” WKU head coach Travis Hudson said. “There are two teams playing in the state of Kentucky—Kentucky was a surprise host for the first and second round and then Louisville is hosting as well. For us to end up in Palo Alto, California, is a bit of a surprise as is our first-round opponent, but we are looking forward to the trip.”
Should the Lady Toppers (32-3) advance, the team will face the winner of a match between Jackson State (24-11) and host Stanford (27-3), who earned the No. 2 national seed.
“I’m far more familiar with teams in the Midwest than I am with Loyola Marymount,” said Hudson. “I have looked at them a little bit briefly, and I think it is going to be a really good first-round matchup. Obviously the winner of that will most likely get a Stanford team that has been No. 1 for a good portion of the year.”
Loyola Marymount will make its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2005 after being one of six teams from the West Coast Conference to earn a spot in the 64-team field. The Lions completed their season with an 18-12 overall record and 8-8 conference mark. In their 2012 campaign, LMU defeated No.24 Pepperdine while taking No. 16 BYU to five sets. The team will be coming into tournament play after dropping a tightly-contest five set match to San Francisco to snap a three-game winning streak.
WKU will be making its seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament and third-consecutive appearance after sweeping the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last weekend. The last two seasons the Lady Toppers traveled to Champaign, Ill., where they lost in their opening-round matches against Cincinnati in 2010 and Marquette in 2011. In its six trips, WKU has never made it past the first match of the NCAA Tournament.
“We have been preparing this whole year for this moment, and I think we are all ready for it,” WKU senior Jordyn Skinner said on the team looking to get past the first match. “We are mentally and physically prepared, and I think it is just going to be a different year this year for us. We are all excited.”
Check back with WKUSports.com for more information as it becomes available.