SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the ninth time in the last 10 years, the Sacramento State volleyball squad will compete in the NCAA Div. I Tournament, it was announced by the NCAA selection committee today. The Hornets, who received an automatic berth into the Big Dance by virtue of winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament title for the fifth-consecutive season, are one of 64 teams that will compete for the NCAA championship.
Despite a 30-5 record and the nation’s 15th-best winning percentage (.857), Sacramento State will have to face third-ranked Stanford on Friday, Dec. 1, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Stanford received the No. 2 seed in the tournament as Nebraska (No. 1), Penn State (No. 3), UCLA (No. 4) and USC (No. 5) rounded out the top five seeds in the tournament. Stanford just won the Pacific-10 Conference title and will enter the NCAA’s with a 25-3 record.
The other first-round match that will take place at Maples Pavilion features Missouri and 23rd-ranked Santa Clara playing on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The winners of Sacramento State-Stanford and Missouri-Santa Clara will face each other in the second round on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., in Maples Pavilion.
Sacramento State opens NCAA Tournament play against Stanford for the third time in the last five years (2002-03, 2006). The Hornets open play at Maples Pavilion for the fourth time in five years as the team faced Santa Clara in the first round last season at Stanford’s home facility. In fact, the last time the Hornets did not play in the Bay Area for a first-round match was 1999, when the team played in Los Angeles.
With Stanford being ranked third in the CSTV/AVCA top 25 poll, Sacramento State will now have faced a team ranked among the nation’s top 15 in each of the Hornets’ last five NCAA Tournament appearances.
Sacramento State has never beaten Stanford in eight previous meetings between the two teams. The last two meetings between the two squads came in the first round of the 2002 and 2003 NCAA Tournaments, both resulting in three-games sweeps for the Cardinal. The eight-match losing streak against Stanford represents the second-longest active losing streak for Sacramento State against any team. The longest active losing streak is nine against Santa Clara.
The Hornets just completed a season that saw the team post its most victories (30) since the 1995 season, while winning the Big Sky Conference’s regular season and tournament championships. Sacramento State went 15-1 in Big Sky play and will enter the NCAA Tournament as winners of seven in a row and 18 of the last 19. The Hornets swept Northern Colorado in the semifinals, and beat Eastern Washington in four games to win the Big Sky Tournament.
Sacramento State has won seven Big Sky regular-season championships (1997-01, 2005-06) and eight Big Sky Tournament championships (1997-98, 2000, 2002-06) since joining the league in 1996. In fact, the team has won either the Big Sky’s regular season and/or tournament titles each of the last 10 years..
The Hornets made their first appearance in the NCAA Div. I Tournament in 1997 when it lost to Pacific, 3-1, in the first round at the University of Washington. In 1998, the Hornets defeated Houston, 3-0, in the first round before dropping their second-round match to host Pacific, 3-0. In 1999, the Hornets lost their first-round match to Minnesota, 3-0, in Los Angeles on the USC campus. The 2000 team lost in the first round to host Santa Clara, 3-0, in San Jose, Calif. Sacramento State fell to host Stanford, 3-0, in the first round of both the 2002 and 2003 tournaments. In 2004, Sacramento State fell to Saint Mary’s, 3-1, in Berkeley, Calif. Last season at Stanford, the Hornets won the first game against Santa Clara before eventually losing, 3-1. Santa Clara wound up reaching the Final Four of last season’s tournament. The only time the Hornets have not appeared in the NCAA Tournament over the last 10 years was during the 2001 season.
Sacramento State is the only team from the Big Sky Conference to make this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Hornets faced a total of five opponents that reached this year’s NCAA Tournament, posting a 2-3 record against those teams. That included victories over Long Beach State and Stephen F. Austin, and losses to Arkansas, New Mexico State and Santa Clara.
Tickets for the NCAA first and second rounds at Stanford will go on sale Monday, Nov. 27, at 9 a.m. Two-day passes can be purchased at the Stanford Ticket Office, online at gostanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD. Single day passes will be available beginning Friday, December 1. Ticket prices are as follows:
$20 - Adult reserved (2-day pass)
$14 - Adult general admission (2-day pass)
$10 - Student/Child/Senior general admission (2-day pass)
$12 - Adult reserved (single day)
$8 - Adult general admission (single day)
$6 - Student/Child/Senior general admission (single day)