UNI, Iowa State Make NCAA Volleyball Tournament
The UNI Panthers and Iowa State Cyclones are preparing to compete in the 2015 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Both teams were selected as at-large participants when the 64-team field was announced Sunday evening (Nov. 29, 2015).
UNI (19-14) is headed to Minneapolis for a first-round match against Marquette (21-11) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Afterward at 6:30 p.m., Jackson State (15-21) battles the Minnesota Golden Gophers (26-4), the No. 2 seed and Big Ten Conference champion who are serving as site host.
The winners will meet in the second-round on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., also at the Sports Pavillion on the Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.
UNI is making its 19th trip to the NCAA Tournament and first since 2012. The Panthers have posted 14 wins in the tourney. They've advanced to at least the second round 11 times and have made three Sweet 16 appearances (1999, 2001, 2002).
Head coach Bobbi Petersen has guided UNI to the NCAA Tournament 11 times, including two trips to the Sweet 16 (2001, 2002). The Panthers are 9-10 in NCAA tournament play under Petersen.
UNI's NCAA selection was thought to be a long-shot after a five-set loss to Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) tournament semifinals on Friday. The Panthers were one of four MVC teams chosen for the field.
UNI will be competing in the Des Moines Regional, while Iowa State is in the Austin, Texas Regional.
The Cyclones (18-10) travel to Madison, Wis., where they'll play Miami (FL) (21-9) on Thursday at 5 p.m. The winner advance to play either No. 6 seed Wisconsin (24-6) or Oregon (16-13) on Friday at 7 p.m., also at the UW Field House in Madison.
This is the 10th-consecutive NCAA Tournament trip for Iowa State under the guidance of head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch, highlighted by Regional Final appearances in 2008 and 2011. The Cyclones have advanced to the second weekend five times and have 15 NCAA victories.
Prior to Johnson-Lynch's tenure at Iowa State, the Cyclones had been to one NCAA Volleyball Championship (1995).