Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NCAA | Impressive tournament pedigrees for four volleyball teams headed to Seattle

Seattle Region foursome boasts consistent postseason success and recently-honored athletes
  • #12 BYU vs #8 Florida State| Fri, Dec 12 | 4:00PM | Alaska Airlines Arena
  • #11 Nebraska @ #3 Washington| Fri, Dec 12 | 6:30PM | Alaska Airlines Arena
  • Regional Final | Sat, Dec 13 | 8:30PM | Alaska Airlines Arena

Washington's Krista Vansant (16) and Lianna Sybeldon (10) block against Hawai'i's Kalei Greeley (11)
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

The four teams competing in this week’s NCAA Seattle Regional are no strangers to the Sweet 16.

Since 2002 (the first year Washington qualified for the Tournament under Coach Jim McLaughlin), the four schools playing Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena have reached the third round 30 times between them, led by Nebraska with 12, Washington with 9, and BYU and Florida State with four each. Each of the schools has qualified for the Sweet 16 three of the past four seasons (Washington, Nebraska and BYU all missed 2011; Florida State missed 2012).

Since 2002, the Huskies have gone on to the Final Four four times and the Huskers three times, including Washington’s 3-0 win over Nebraska for the 2005 title (Nebraska won the championship the following season.) Florida State lost to eventual champion UCLA in the 2011 national semifinals.

Here, then are the four teams’ recent records in the NCAA postseason:

Last week, Washington’s Cassie Strickland was named the Pac-12 Libero of the Year. Today, Strickland was left off the AVCA Pacific North All-Region Team, as Stanford’s Kyle Gilbert was named the First Team libero, and Oregon libero Amanda Benson was an Honorable Mention selection. All-Pac 12 selections are made by the conference’s coaches; AVCA’s Pacific North Region is based on geography, regardless of conference, and this year includes players from parts of the Pac-12, Big West, West Coast and Mountain West conferences. A coaches’ selection committee makes the decisions.

Washington libero Cassie Strickland
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann
AVCA’s eight All-Region teams provide the players eligible for AVCA’s All-Americans and Players of the Year. Among those included in the Pacific North team are three players from Washington: Krista Vansant, Kaleigh Nelson and Lianna Sybeldon. Last season, Vansant was a First Team selection and the National Player of the Year; Nelson was a Third Team selection.

Among those also on this year’s Pacific North team is Hawai’i’s Olivia Magill, a graduate of Seattle Prep. Gonzaga outside hitter Savannah Blinn was named a regional Honorable Mention. AVCA does not select a Regional Player of the Year, but Oregon State outside hitter Mary-Kate Marshall was Freshman of the Year, and her veteran coach, Terry Liskevych, was Coach of the Year for the Region.

Three Nebraska players—setter Mary Pollmiller, outside hitter Kelsey Fien and outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen—were North All-Region selections. The East Region included five Florida State players: libero Katie Mosher, outside hitter Katie Horton, outside hitter Nicole Walch, middle blocker Sarah Burrington and right side hitter Milica Kubura (honorable mention); the Seminoles’ head coach, Chris Poole, was the East Region Coach of the Year. BYU’s Shawn Olmstead was Pacific South Coach of the Year, joined by four of his players: outside hitter Alexa Gray, right side hitter Jennifer Hamson, middle blocker Amy Boswell and middle blocker Whitney Young (honorable mention.)

Volleyblog Seattle is a labor of love. We're partners with--but not supported or paid by--The Seattle Times
To donate, click the PayPal button at the top of the right column


  1. If there is one thing I can't abide, it's ignorance. And leaving Cassie off the All-Region team is just ignorant. Plain and simple. Ignorant. Especially after she was named Pac-12 Libero of the year, and the 2 liberos on the team are FROM THE PAC-12. Ignorant.


[It's okay to comment as "Anonymous," but please feel free to share your name and/or alias.]

Have your friends discovered Volleyblog Seattle? Number of unique visits: