WALNUT CREEK – Cal State San Bernardino, Sonoma State, San Francisco State, and UC San Diego all clinched a spot in the 2012 NCAA West Region Tournament, it was announced Sunday night.
All four-teams are Hawaii-bound for the eight-team tournament, which also includes the host school, BYU-Hawaii, Grand Canyon, Western Washington, and Central Washington. The West Region tournament will begin Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Cannon Activities Center in Laie, Hawaii.
No. 22 Cal State San Bernardino lead the conference as the No. 3 seeded team after wrapping up regular season play with a 22-8 record. The Coyotes head to their 13th consecutive NCAA Tournament under head coach, Kim Cherniss and will take on the No. 6 seeded Central Washington first. CSUSB have one the last four NCAA West Region tournaments and are looking to repeat history with some key Coyote players, including senior setter Camille Smith, senior middle-blocker Mercedes Winchester, and defensive specialist Arielle McCullough.
For the fifth straight year, Sonoma State is headed to the post-season tournament as the No. 5 seeded team. The Seawolves will face the No. 4 seeded Western Washington Vikings after wrapping up their regular seasson with a record of 22-8. The last time these two teams met was earlier this season at the Annual Seawolf Spike, where the Vikings downed the Seawolves in four-sets. SSU is led by senior Ally Sather, who has had a record-breaking season with just about 1,500 career kills. Junior libero, Nicole Gragnola will look to continue as the Seawolves anchor on defense.
This year marks only the third time in school history that San Francisco State has earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament and is the second time under head coach Michelle Patton. The Gators, who just wrapped regular season play with a 21-8 record were named the seventh seeded team and are scheduled to take on the No. 2 seeded Grand Canyon Antelopes next Thursday. Senior setter, Iris Tolenada will be key in the 2012 West Region Tournament after leading the CCAA with 11.33 assists per set. Freshman Meagan Wright's offense has been stellar for the Gators with 30 service aces and 286 kills on the season.
UC San Diego held tight to the final spot and will face the host and No. 1 seeded BYU-Hawaii in the first round of the West Region Tournament. This year marks the Tritons seventh straight NCAA Tournament Berth and third consecutive under head coach Ricci Luyties. Leading the Tritons to a 20-10 regular season finish has been freshman Danielle Dahle and sophomore middle-blocker Sara McCutchen. Dahle finished third in conference with 305 kills (3.77 kill/s), while McCutchen has let UCSD on defense with 83 blocks.
The regional semifinals will take place on Friday, Nov. 30 with the final on Saturday, Dec. 1.
A total of 64 teams from eight different regions will be gunning for a national title. The eight regional winners advance to the NCAA Championship, hosted by West Florida in Pensacola, Fla., Dec. 6-8.
NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball West Regional
November 29 - December 1, 2012
Cannon Events Center • Laie, Hawaii
Hosted by BYU-Hawaii
Quarterfinals • Thursday, Nov. 29
No. 1 seed BYU-Hawaii (21-3) vs. No. 8 UC San Diego (20-10)
No. 4 seed Western Washington (23-3) vs. No. 5 Sonoma State (22-8)
No. 2 seed Grand Canyon (23-5) vs. No. 7 San Francisco State (21-8)
No. 3 seed Cal State San Bernardino (22-8) vs. No. 6 Central Washington (21-7)