Junior outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry (4.72 kills per set, .280 hitting percentage) is a leading candidate for the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and BYU closed the season with seven straight wins.
"This was a step that we felt like we were capable of making this year", Flory said in a press release. "We're in the tournament with the top 64 teams in the country, so they are all going to be good teams, but just knowing and believing in ourselves knowing we can go the distance".
Wichita State will host the first- and second-rounds of the NCAA Tournament starting Friday at Koch Arena. The Seawolves went 6-6 in America East play before upsetting top-seeded Albany in the semifinals.
ETSU is no stranger to the Wildcats, as the Bucs traveled to Lexington in 2012 for an NCAA opening round matchup with Kentucky.
Lamb's Shockers (28-3) received the respect they deserved and are the 16th seed nationally. No. 13 seed BYU or No. 4 Kentucky, coached by former Husker assistant Craig Skinner, loom as potential opponents in the regional final. They suffered some injuries early, but have been playing well.
VCU (30-2) owns the nation's longest winning streak of 27 matches in a row. 24 Ohio State, No. 23 Michigan State and No. 21 Florida State.
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The Cardinals have won 12 first round matches in their 25 years in NCAA play with four Sweet Sixteen appearances and an overall mark of 16-25 including one stretch of 16 straight appearances from 1998-2013. Since then, the Huskers are 8-0, losing just two sets.
"It's right down the road and that's what we've been working toward all season", Payne said of the Final Four. "It is what it is, but nothing surprises me anymore with the committee and the tournament". "I'm sure we're going to get after it, and the girls are going to be really focused tomorrow morning".
Minnesota is one of eight Big Ten teams to make it into the NCAA tournament, joining Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.
The team's seniors said last year's first-round loss in Provo provided them motivation in the offseason. The Tigers will face San Diego in the first round. "And we hope to reach more goals as we go along the way". HPU head coach Tom Mendoza said Sunday night.
"Oh, I want them".
To Cook, the No. 5 seed contained a silver lining.