WVB: Gauchos travel to USD for NCAA Tournament opener

UCSB drew ninth-seeded University of San Diego for the first round of the NCAA women?s volleyball tournament. The 64-team field and the tournament draw was announced Sunday evening.

The Gauchos (18-10) will play at San Diego (24-3) on Friday night. It will be their second meeting this year. The West Coast Conference-champion Toreros swept UCSB in their tournament on Sept. 14. It was only the ninth match of the season for UCSB and its first-year coach Nicole Lantagne Welch.

COMPLETE NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

The UCSB-San Diego winner will play New Mexico State or Arizona on Saturday.

“The team is very excited about this opportunity,” Lantagne Welch said. “We have made so much progress this season, and the whole team environment is great, which has had a lot to do with our success.”

This is the 28th NCAA Tournament appearance for UCSB and first appearance since 2009. Lantagne Welch took the University of Miami to five NCAA Tournaments, including four in a row, in her 12 years there.

UCSB received the Big West Conference?s automatic NCAA berth. The Gauchos shared the conference title with Cal State Northridge and Hawai?i, and won the tiebreaker, going 3-1 against the other two teams.

Hawaii and Northridge each received at-large berths into the tournament. Hawai?i (24-4) was seeded 11th and will host Idaho State. Northridge (23-6) will face Colorado State at USC.

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