Nov. 27, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS- Baylor's volleyball team earned its fourth-ever bid into the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship, and will travel to Stanford, Calif., to face Michigan in the first round at 4:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. CT on Friday, Dec. 2 in Maples Pavilion.
Baylor (18-14) is back in the NCAA tournament after a brief one-year hiatus, and for the fourth time overall (1999, 2001, 2009). The last time BU played in the tournament in 2009, the Bears earned a bid into the Sweet 16 with an opening-round win over Georgia Tech, followed by an upset win over ninth-ranked and eighth-seeded UCLA in Los Angeles. Baylor is 3-3 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
"We were pretty confident, having four top-50 wins, of getting in," Barnes said. "This team has worked so hard all season and the girls are just very enthusiastic. We are excited to represent Baylor University, and we fought hard to get to this point. Anyone can win in this tournament and we are going to go give our best shot."
The berth is the second for eighth-year head coach Jim Barnes, who coached the Bears to the Sweet 16 in 2009. Barnes, the all-time winningest coach in Baylor history with 136 victories, remains just two shy of 300 for his 16-year career at 298-218.
Baylor's first-round opponent, Michigan, enters with an overall record of 20-12 after finishing in tie for eighth in the Big Ten Conference with a league record of 8-12. Michigan was ranked 22nd in the most recent release of the AVCA Coaches Poll on Nov. 21. The meeting will be the first-ever between the two schools.
"We are excited to be in the tournament and to be matched up with Michigan," Barnes said. "It is a great opportunity for us to go back out to California, where we had a lot of success in '09."
Stanford, the 11th overall seed in the tournament, will serve as the site host and face Sacred Heart in the first round. The four teams make up one-fourth of the Gainesville Regional, with the winner of the second round traveling to Gainesville, Fla., on Dec. 9-10.
Baylor is one of seven teams from the Big 12 to earn a berth in this year's championship, including national seeds No. 1 Texas, No. 4 Iowa State and No. 16 Texas A&M. Each of those three teams will host the first and second rounds. Kansas State, Oklahoma and Missouri each earned bids as well.
Michigan was one of eight teams from the Big Ten to earn a bid including (2) Nebraska, (3) Illinois, (5) Purdue, (8) Penn State, (13) Minnesota, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Friday's winner of the Baylor/Michigan will face the winner of the Stanford/Sacred Heart match in the second round at 7 p.m. PT/9 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 3.