Courtesy of K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State received an at-large bid to the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship, its 18th all-time selection and sixth postseason berth in the last 12 years, the NCAA Selection Committee announced Sunday evening on ESPNU.
K-State (15-12, 6-10 Big 12) will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, to face Florida State on Friday, December 3 at 4:30 p.m. in the opening round at Devaney Center. The bid marks the 13th under head coach Suzie Fritz.
“It feels good, this one feels about as good as any,” Fritz said after the Selection Show. “It’s been a very difficult six-game stretch for us. We didn’t feel like we were playing poorly, we were playing really capable opponents, and we didn’t finish the conference season like we wanted to finish the conference season. So, we were nervous about it.
“We had a strong RPI all year, we’re playing in the No. 1 RPI conference in the country, we had a top-30 strength of schedule and so I think the combination of those factors gave us a great opportunity. We feel blessed to be able to keep going.”
K-State last qualified for the NCAA Volleyball Championship in 2016, as the Wildcats reached the second round and hosted the first two rounds as the No. 14 national seed.
The Wildcats were among the first teams left off the 48-team bracket a season ago, a tournament field that was reduced from the traditional 64 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sunday, K-State saw its name on the screen as one of the last four teams to be admitted to the field of 64.
“You don’t want your name to pop up there as the first team out, and three of the last five years we’ve been so close,” added Fritz. “One match, one game even, has been the difference between us being out. So it feels pretty good.”
Under Fritz, K-State has now qualified for the NCAA Tournament 13 times in 21 seasons, as she has a 10-12 career record in the NCAA Tournament.
K-State is 15-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has reached the Regional Semifinal (Sweet 16) three times. The Wildcats have never faced FSU in the postseason and lead the all-time series 2-1, last meeting in 2010.
Nebraska, the No. 10 national seed, will host Campbell following the Wildcats and Seminoles contest with the winners facing each other on Saturday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m.
K-State has taken on the Cornhuskers in the NCAA Tournament twice, the last coming in 2011 when the Cats upset the second-ranked team to advance to the Sweet 16. The Cats and Huskers met in this season’s opening weekend, with then-No. 5 Nebraska winning in four sets.
Following the first and second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament (December 2-4), the regional semifinals will take place on Thursday, December 9 and Saturday, December 11 on campus sites. The Final Four and National Championship will take place at Nationwide Arena in Columbia, Ohio, December 16-18.
- K-State qualified for its 18th NCAA Tournament in program history, holding a 15-17 record in the postseason.
- Fritz earned her 13th career postseason bid and is 10-12 in her career in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Wildcats are 2-1 all-time vs. Florida State and have never faced FSU in the postseason.
- K-State has now qualified for the NCAA Tournament in six of the past 12 seasons, reaching the Round of 32 in its last appearance in 2016.
- The Cats hosted the first two rounds in 2016 at Bramlage Coliseum as the No. 14 national seed when they defeated Lipscomb in the first round before falling in five sets to Ohio State in the Round of 32.
- K-State has been sent to Lincoln four times for postseason play, the last coming in 2014.