For the first time since 2005, seven Big 12 volleyball squads have earned spots in the 2011 NCAA Championship, with Big 12 champion Texas' No. 1 national seed leading the group. Joining the Longhorns are league runner-up and No. 4 seed Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma and 16th-seeded Texas A&M.
The Big 12's seven selections and three national seeds ties for the second-most among all conferences. This is the third time the Conference has sent seven teams to the postseason (2004 & ‘05). The Big 12 represented with eight teams in 2001. It also marks the third-straight season with five or more league squads making the field.
Overall the Big 12 has earned 97 bids in 16 years of competition. The Conference is 145-89 all-time in NCAA postseason play, a winning mark of .620. The Big 12 is 23-4 in the first round of NCAA play over the past five years and 55-17 overall.
The Texas Longhorns, ranked fifth nationally and owners of an RPI ranking of No. 2, claimed the 2011 Big 12 Volleyball Championship. It is the Longhorns' fifth conference crown after earning the title in 1997 and from 2007-09. This is the third time UT has won the championship outright (‘97 and ‘09). Texas has also finished as the league runner-up on five occasions.
Texas' Bailey Webster (Player of the Year), Haley Eckerman (Freshman of the Year) and Jerritt Elliott (Coach of the Year) headlined the 2011 All-Big 12 Postseason Awards. Iowa State's Kirsten Hahn (Libero of the Year) and Oklahoma's Sallie McLaurin (Defensive Player of the Year) and Carlee Roethlisberger (Newcomer of the Year) also garnered individual honors. Iowa State, Texas and Texas A&M placed a conference-leading three members on the All-Big 12 First Team, while Texas led in overall selections with seven awards between First Team, Honorable Mention and All-Freshman honorees.
Six Big 12 squads notched 20-win seasons for the first time since 1997 when seven league teams won 20 or more matches. This marks the third-straight year at least five Big 12 teams have recorded 20 or more overall wins and overall is the 11th season that at least five league squads have had 20-plus win seasons.
UT owns the second-longest active home winning streak in the nation having won 28-straight contests in Austin. Only Nebraska (36) has a longer active win streak at home.
The Big 12 is one of three conferences with six teams ranked in the top 35 for RPI. The Conference also boasts eight teams in the top 50, tied for the most among all conferences. Texas and Iowa State hold down the second and third spots, while Texas A&M ranks 17th, Kansas State 26th, Oklahoma 27th, Missouri 33rd and Baylor 46th. Kansas rounds out the top 50 at 47th.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1
Kansas State vs. Wichita State,
Lincoln, Neb., 4:30 p.m.
Lipscomb at Texas A&M
College Station, Texas, 4:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2
Missouri vs. No. 17 Florida
Cedar Falls, Iowa, 5:00 p.m.
Baylor vs. No. 22 Michigan
Stanford, Calif., 6:30 p.m.
Texas State at No. 5 Texas
Austin, Texas, 7:00 p.m.
Oklahoma vs. Tulsa
Los Angeles, Calif., 7:00 p.m.
Milwaukee at No. 14 Iowa State
Ames, Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
(Northern Illinois/Miami (Fla.))
Potential second round matchups in parentheses