The Iowa State and UNI volleyball teams open the NCAA Tournament later today. The 15th ranked Cyclones host the opening two rounds and will play Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne tonight. The opener pits California against North Carolina.
UNI opens in Lincoln, Nebraska, today. The Panthers open against Kansas State, a team that UNI coach Bobbi Petersen says went unbeaten outside of Big 12 play this season.
Petersen says they are a big physical team that has done very well in the Big 12. It was a bit of a surprise for UNI to make it into the NCAA field, given their loss in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tourney.
Petersen says UNI’s high RPI rating helped put them over the top. She says the selection of teams was heavily based on the RPI, and she says they didn’t have a huge win that she thought got them into the tourney.
Petersen says coming off that loss in the conference tourney, she believes the Panthers will be very motivated heading into the NCAAs. “Especially in this situation where we really didn’t know. I think there’s other years where we might not have won the conference tournament but felt our resume would get us in,” Petersen says.
UNI and Kansas State will meet at 4:30 this afternoon. The winner meets either the host school, Nebraska, or Maryland-Eastern Shore.
By Jesse Gavin KCNZ Cedar Falls