For the sixth straight year, the Big 12 will represent with at least three teams in the NCAA Volleyball Championship Regional Semifinal field. Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas will begin third round play on Friday, Dec. 9. The league's trio is the second-most of all conferences advancing teams to the Sweet Sixteen.
This marks the fourth Regional Semifinal appearance for ISU in the past six years, while KSU is competing for the first time since 2003 and third overall (2011, ‘03, ‘00). UT is making its sixth-straight appearance. All regional semifinal games will be shown on ESPN3.com while regional final games (Sat., Dec. 10) will air on ESPNU.
The Big 12 is 7-4 in the 2011 postseason, including a 3-1 mark in the second round. The Conference was one of three leagues to advance four or more teams to second round play.
The Cyclones and Longhorns are two of six Regional teams who swept their first and second round opponents to advance. Kansas State improved to 8-1 in five-set matches with a 3-2 upset over No. 2 national seed Nebraska in Lincoln in the second round. NU was also ranked No. 2 nationally, marking the highest ranked team the Wildcats have ever defeated. The last time K-State defeated a team ranked in the Top 10 was against Nebraska on Nov. 15, 2003, when the Huskers were No. 10 in the nation.
Kansas State handed Nebraska its first postseason home loss since 2002 and only its third ever. NU had advanced to an NCAA Regional in each of the last 17 seasons, the longest active streak in the nation, nine longer than any other school.
Thanks to the Wildcats' win in Lincoln, Texas now has the longest active home winning streak in the nation at 30-straight matches. The Huskers entered their match against K-State with a 37-match home winning streak.
For the first time since 2005, seven Big 12 volleyball squads earned spots in the 2011 NCAA Championship field. The Big 12's seven selections and three national seeds tied for the second-most among all conferences. It was the third time the Conference has sent seven teams to the postseason (2004 & ‘05).
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.
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.