fThe Minnesota volleyball team (28-4) will head to New Haven, Conn. for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 2 & 3. Minnesota will take on Long Island University (32-6) in the first round on Thursday, Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m. (CT).
Host Yale (17-7) will play Albany (27-6) in the first round on the other side of the bracket on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. (CT). The winners of the two first round matches will play on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. (CT).
For the first time in school history, Minnesota was awarded a No. 1 regional seed. The Golden Gophers also received a No. 4 overall seed, their highest in school history. The No. 2 seed in the region went to Ohio State, while Tennessee was No. 3 and UC Santa Barbara was No. 4.
Minnesota finished the regular season 28-4, and tied for second in the Big Ten at 17-3. The 17 wins tied a school-record for conference wins, while 28 wins tied for the second-best regular season win total in school history.
Overall, Minnesota will be making its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, and its eighth under current head coach Mike Hebert. The Golden Gophers have advanced to "Sweet Sixteen" in four of the last five seasons, including the first Final Four in school history last season.
Minnesota is 16-9 in 25 NCAA Tournament matches. The Golden Gophers are 6-2 the last two seasons in NCAA Tournament play, which is tied for the fourth-best record in tournament play in that span.
A total of seven Big Ten teams were selected to the 64-team field. The Big Ten had three of the top five seeds in the tournament, as Penn State was seeded No. 2 overall, while Minnesota was No. 4 and Ohio State was No. 5. Wisconsin was also the No. 14 seed in the tournament. Illinois, Michigan and Purdue also made it from the Big Ten.
All of Minnesota's NCAA Tournament matches will be broadcast on WMGT (1220 AM) radio out of Stillwater.
Mike Hebert on the NCAA Tournament:
"I am extremely happy with the way our team has played this season. At the beginning of the season, a lot of people were wondering where we would get the firepower to replace what Cassie Busse had done for us the past few seasons. People also were waiting to see how we would do with the new 6-2 formation. I am extremely proud of the way this team has played on its way to earning us our first No. 1 Regional seed in school history. This team has embodied the spirit of the team above everything else as much as any team I have coached."
"I am a little surprised with the fact that we are not playing at home, but if I had thought about the process a little more it probably would not have surprised me as much. In the recent past, the NCAA has shipped teams that were hosting the regionals out of their site for the first and second rounds. They did so with Nebraska last year, and have done so with a couple of the west coast teams in the past couple of years. I am excited about starting NCAA Tournament play. The only thing I am disappointed in is that our fans lose two matches that they could have seen us play at home. Hopefully we can make up for that by getting to the NCAA Regionals in Minneapolis and giving them some exciting volleyball in the Sports Pavilion."
"I think it says a lot about the Big Ten that the conference had three of the top five seeds in the NCAA Tournament. In the rankings this season and in attendance figures our conference has been performing as well as any in the nation. It is exciting to see those results reflected in the seedings."
"I am excited about where our team is seeded. It says a lot about our program that we are one of the No. 1 regional seeds. I am proud of that accomplishment. I am a little disappointed that we are not playing the first and second round at home. Mostly from the standpoint that we wanted to play the first and second round in front of our fans who have done a great of supporting us througout the season."
"Three of the top five Big Ten teams being from the Big Ten is great for our conference. Night in and night out during the season it is as tough as any conference in the nation. It is good to see our conference as a whole get this much respect, and reaffirm how good in the Big Ten really is this season."