Minnesota has been chosen to host the 2009 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Regionals on Friday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 12 according to an announcement by the NCAA. It will mark the third time that the Minnesota volleyball program will host the NCAA Regionals.
The last time the Golden Gophers hosted the NCAA Regionals was in 2004. That year, the Sports Pavilion was home to one of the most exciting regional rounds in the history of the NCAA Tournament.
In the NCAA Regional Semifinals, Ohio State rallied from down 2-0 to defeated Tennessee. That round also produced a match that saw Minnesota claim a five-game victory over Georgia Tech, which included the longest game in NCAA Tournament history when the Golden Gophers dropped the fourth game to the Yellow Jackets 48-46. In the Regional Finals, Minnesota claimed a second straight bid to the National Semifinals as it defeated Ohio State in front of raucous crowd at the Sports Pavilion. The Golden Gophers went on to face Stanford in the National Championship that year.
Minnesota also hosted the NCAA Regionals at Williams Arena in 1993 where it dropped a five-game match to Notre Dame in the NCAA Regional Semifinals.
The four sites for the NCAA Regionals in 2008 and 2009 were predetermined by the NCAA. In 2008, Colorado State, Penn State, Texas and Washington will host NCAA Regional sites. Along with Minnesota in 2009, Florida, Stanford and Nebraska (in Omaha) will host NCAA Regional sites.
In 2008, all four of the regional sites will feed into National Semifinals, which will take place in Omaha, Neb. at the Qwest Center. The 2009 NCAA Regionals will feed into the National Semifinals in Tampa, Fla. at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Last year Minnesota participated in its ninth NCAA Tournament row, becoming one of only 13 teams in the nation to have a streak that long. The Golden Gophers have advanced to NCAA Regionals in six of the last nine seasons, and played in back-to-back National Semifinals in 2003 and 2004.
“Ever since the great experience of hosting a regional in 2004 we have looked forward to the opportunity to do it again, and we are extremely excited to get that chance in 2009,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “We would like to thank Associate Athletic Director Marc Ryan and all the people who helped prepare the bid to help make this opportunity possible.
I also would like to point out that this selection process is often based on attendance and how well the community attends the event. Receiving the opportunity to host the 2009 NCAA Regionals is a reflection of what a great volleyball community we have in the Twin Cities, and what a good job our fans have done supporting the program. In 2004, we had the chance to host one of the most exciting regionals in the history of the NCAA Tournament, and we can only hope that 2009 creates that type of excitement both on and off the court, for all the players, coaches and spectators.”