Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- For the first time in WKU Volleyball history, the Lady Toppers will be hosting the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds. With a 31-1 record along with the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships, the Red and White locked up the program’s 10th automatic – and 12th overall – bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Thursday, Dec. 5 – 5 p.m. | Samford vs. Louisville
Thursday, Dec. 5 – 7 p.m. | No. 19 WKU vs. Kennesaw State
Friday, Dec. 6 – 7 p.m. | First Round winners
Joining the host Lady Toppers on The Hill this Thursday and Friday, Dec. 5 and 6, are Kennesaw State, Louisville and Samford. No. 19 WKU will face Kennesaw State on Thursday following the First Round match featuring Louisville and Samford prior. Thursday’s winner will face off inside Diddle Arena Friday night for a spot in the Sweet 16.
In 2019, WKU Volleyball is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last six seasons and eighth in the last 10. Riding the second-longest active win streak in the NCAA at 27, the Lady Toppers will face off against Kennesaw State, who earn the ASUN’s automatic bid. Kennesaw State owns a 22-8 record on the season including a 13-3 mark in league play.
Louisville owns a 19-9 overall record including a 12-6 mark in ACC play. The Cardinals earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and mark the Lady Toppers’ only loss on the 2019 season. Louisville is set to face Samford ahead of the Lady Toppers’ match. The Bulldogs earned the automatic bid out of the Southern Conference after winning the league’s tournament. Samford has a 24-5 record with a 15-1 mark in league action.
Since joining Conference USA prior to the 2014 campaign, WKU has secured five of the possible six automatic bids into the NCAA Tournament while also winning the regular-season championship each of those seasons.
Also for the fifth time in the last six seasons, WKU has notched 30 or more victories. The program now owns 11 total seasons of 30+ wins with 10 coming under Travis Hudson.
No. 21 Rice also earned a spot in the field of 64, making Conference USA a multi-bid league for the first time since 2009 when Rice and Tulane both appeared.
WKU marks the sixth occurrence of a C-USA squad hosting the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament and the first to do so since Louisville did so in 2001. The Cardinals also hosted the Regional Semifinals during the 2004 campaign.
First and second round play of the 2019 NCAA Tournament will take place either Thursday and Friday, Dec. 5 and 6, or Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7. In total, 16 campuses will host the opening rounds of The Dance before the field narrows to just four non-predetermined hosts the following week. The NCAA Semifinals and Finals will take place in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Thursday, Dec. 19, and Saturday, Dec. 21.