Four WCC Teams Selected For NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament


The NCAA held it’s selection show for women’s volleyball on Sunday, and it was a banner showing for the West Coast Conference as four teams made the field. WCC Champions BYU received their automatic bid, and three other teams were selected as at-large bids: Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, and San Diego. With most of the teams on the bubble outside of BYU and LMU, to get two additional teams in the field was a great accomplishment for the conference. This is the most teams the WCC has sent to the NCAA Tournament since six went in 2012.

BYU enters the tournament well rested and confident after cruising to the WCC Championship. Thanks to a strong run and the stumbles of some chief competitors, the Cougars sewed up their automatic bid weeks ago. They will face Seton Hall in the first round followed by the winner of the match between Yale and #11 seed Arizona. The Wildcats are hosting the first and second round matches.

This is a very winnable first couple matches for the Cougars as they have a very strong and complete team. But they have shown their weakness when they take their foot off the gas as we saw them suffer some bad dropped games and lost matches as the season wore down. How fired up they come out in these early matches will say a lot, especially if they face host Arizona in the second round.  The Cougars are coming off back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances, and this squad is arguably better than the last two. They are in great position if they play up to their potential.

Loyola Marymount collapsed in WCC play after their undefeated run through non-conference play that had them nationally ranked, but the hot start held up all season and their RPI was comfortably high enough that their inclusion in the tournament was assured heading into Sunday. The Lions played themselves out of the running for the WCC Championship, but they are a good team and showed flashes of the breakout squad that dominated early in the year.

However, they get a very tough road heading to Palo Alto for first and second round action at Stanford. They will face a quality Big Ten team in Michigan State in the first round with a likely second round match looming against #1 overall seed Stanford. The Lions fell in the first round to Western Kentucky back in 2012, their last appearance in the NCAA Tournament. With this road being much tougher, it’s unlikely they get out of the second round and maybe not even the first. It’s an unfortunate draw for a team that could have used an easier first couple matches to build momentum.

San Diego was hovering around the bubble coming into Sunday, but their pedigree and strong schedule got them in. The Toreros struggled at times this season, and it often looked like they were going to play themselves out of the postseason and break their long streak of consecutive postseason appearances. While the strong schedule and large turnover from last year’s Sweet Sixteen roster affected them, they are still a talented team who can hang with anyone.

The Toreros can take advantage of playing close to home as they head up the freeway to host site UCLA for a first round match against Long Beach State. A win would likely set up a second round match with #12 seed UCLA. These are winnable matches, but it’s hard to know how San Diego will do because of their up and down season. They could come out on fire and cruise through both matches, or they could struggle and lose either one. We will have to wait and see. The good news is that they are facing familiar opponents they have played regularly in the past including in the postseason, so they have a shot.

Santa Clara was also on the bubble, but their RPI was just enough to get them in. They had a strong finish to the season which probably helped quite a bit. Pacific was just a few spots below them, and they missed out on making the field. The Broncos got in, but just barely. They’re a good team with some good wins, but like San Diego they were wildly inconsistent.

More from West Coast Convo

Their bubble status is confirmed by their first round match as they will be the only WCC team opening against a national seed. They will face #10 Oregon in Eugene, and the Ducks are sure to bring a strong home crowd. It’s unlikely the Broncos can survive such a tough early test, and even if they do they have major conference powers LSU and Oklahoma looming in the next round. Like with LMU, the road may just be too tough for a vulnerable team like the Broncos.

Regardless of the outcomes, the WCC had a very strong year and it was good the NCAA recognized it by including so many teams from the conference. There’s room for a team to go on a run, and with so many chances for the conference to shine the WCC should at least pick up a win or two before all the teams are done.