Gopher volleyball team to host NCAA Tournament

The 19th-ranked Minnesota volleyball team will host the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota (22-10), who was seeded No. 13 in the NCAA Field, will play Wisconsin-Green Bay (23-10) on Friday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. The first match on Dec. 5 will be UC-Santa Barbara (19-8) against Northern Iowa (27-5) at 5 p.m. The winners of the two matches will play on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.

The Golden Gophers will be hosting the first and second rounds for the third time in the last four seasons. Minnesota's bracket will feed into the Long Beach (Calif.) Regional. The winner of Minnesota's bracket will play the winner of a bracket featuring fourth-seeded Pepperdine, Manhattan, Long Beach State and Kansas. Fifth-seeded Stanford and 12th-seeded Washington are the other top-16 seeds in the region.

The UW-Green Bay volleyball team (23-10) fought off two championship points, scoring the final four points in a 30-15, 18-30, 30-24, 22-30, 16-14 upset of top-seeded UW-Milwaukee (25-5) Sunday afternoon in the 2003 Horizon League Volleyball Championship at Indianapolis, Ind. The tournament title and automatic berth into the NCAA tournament are the first in UW-Green Bay volleyball history. 5-9 freshman outside hitter Sarah Rauen attended North Branch (MN) High.

All Session Ticket prices for the matches at the Sports Pavilion on Dec. 5-6 will be $20 for reserved seating, $17 for general admission, $12 for students and seniors and $8 for 12 & under. Single-session tickets, if available, will not go on sale until the day of the match.
"We are very happy to be hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament," said Minnesota head volleyball coach Mike Hebert. "Any teams that make the NCAA Tournament are quality opponents. Wisconsin-Green Bay is a good team who won the Horizon Conference. Our fans know about Northern Iowa from the great matches we have played against each over the years. UC-Santa Barbara is a team from California that we have not played in Minnesota since I have been here, and plays a style that is fun to watch. We are excited about hosting these three quality teams."
Minnesota will have some familiar foes visit the Sports Pavilion on Dec. 5-6. Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Horizon League champion, will play the Golden Gophers for a fourth time. The two teams last played at the Sports Pavilion on Nov. 15, 2001.
UC Santa Barbara and Minnesota met in the "Sweet Sixteen" of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii. In that match the Gauchos defeated the Golden Gophers 3-1. Minnesota defeated its highest ranked opponent in school history when it upset the fifth-ranked Gauchos in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1993.
Northern Iowa and Minnesota met in Rochester, Minn., earlier this season in a match that saw the Golden Gophers win in four games. The Panthers defeated the Golden Gophers in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament in five games in the two teams; only NCAA meeting.
Minnesota has now advanced to seven NCAA Tournaments in Hebert's eight seasons with the Golden Gophers.

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