Of the 48 teams that qualified for the 2020-21 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, four are universities from the Beehive State.
So maybe Utah is a volleyball state after all.
BYU, Utah, Weber State, and UVU all punched their ticket to the tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, which will begin opening round play on April 14.
Utah head coach Beth Launiere made note of the quartet of Utah schools in the sport’s big dance on Twitter, proclaiming “Utah is officially a VOLLEYBALL STATE,” while congratulating the other in-state schools.
Of the four schools, Launiere’s Utes received the highest seed, the tournament’s 14th spot. They’ll play on April 15 against the winner of the play-in game between Long Island and Pittsburgh. Utah is led by Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, Dani Drews, in its sixth-straight tournament appearance.
BYU was given the 16th seed and the final opening round bye of the tournament. The Cougars will face the winner of UCLA and Rider on April 15.
Both Weber State and UVU earned their spot in the tournament with championships in their respective conference tournaments. However, they will each have to play in a play-in game to advance to the next round against a top 16-seeded squad.
The Wildcats’ first test will be against Bowling Green, while UVU will battle Texas State. If Weber State wins, it’ll have the opportunity to play top seeded Wisconsin. The Wolverines’ potential opponent would 5-seed Nebraska if they advance in their first-ever tournament appearance.
This will be the first NCAA Volleyball Tournament since 2019. Due to the stupid pandemic, the 2020 tournament was delayed to this month. The plan is to get things back on schedule for the next tournament, which is set for December 2021.
While all the Utah-based schools appear to be long-shots for a tournament run. It wasn’t too long ago – 2018, to be exact – that BYU advanced all the way to the Final Four.