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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Washington State volleyball earns No. 4 seed, will host first two rounds of NCAA Tournament

From staff reports

Washington State volleyball has secured home -court advantage.

The Cougars (24-7, 14-6 Pac-12) clinched a No. 4 seed for the upcoming NCAA Tournament and will host the first two rounds at Bohler Gym in Pullman this week.

WSU opens against Western Athletic Conference tournament champion Grand Canyon (23-7) on Friday at 7 p.m. The winner will face either fifth-seeded Dayton (31-2), which went unbeaten in Atlantic 10 Conference play, or West Coast Conference champion Pepperdine (19-8) in the second round on Saturday.

The Cougars, ranked No. 11 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, rose as high as No. 4 in the country this season before hitting a slump in conference play. WSU responded by winning its last five matches, including five-set victories over No. 25 Southern California and No. 18 Arizona State. The Cougars closed the regular season with a 3-0 sweep over Washington on Friday in Seattle.

The Cougars’ 24 wins are the most in coach Jen Greeny’s 13 seasons. WSU posted 23 wins in 2018, 2019 and 2022.

WSU is one of five Pac-12 teams in the 64-team field, including No. 1 seed Stanford, No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 ASU and No. 8 USC. WSU and ASU shared third place in the conference standings.

WSU is making its eighth consecutive trip to the tournament. It has reached the Sweet 16 once in that span, during the 2018 season, the last time the Cougars hosted tournament matches. WSU beat Northern Arizona and Tennessee before falling to No. 1 seed Stanford in Palo Alto. The Cardinal went on to win the national championship.

Pittsburg, Louisville and Creighton are the top three seeds in WSU’s region. Louisville swept the Cougars in August, but WSU rebounded with wins over No. 8 BYU, No. 18 Baylor and No. 6 Texas before entering Pac-12 play. Texas is a two seed, BYU is a four seed and Baylor also made the tournament field.

Grand Canyon finished second in the WAC regular season before upsetting top-seeded Stephen F. Austin 3-1 to claim the tournament title. Klaire Mitchell, a Coeur d’Alene native and former Lake City High standout, was the tournament’s most outstanding player. Mitchell has been named WAC setter of the year three times.

The Cougars have hosted at six tournaments and have a 6-2 record in those matches. WSU reached the Elite Eight in 2002 and 1996 but hasn’t gone further.

WSU draws No. 4 seed for NCAAs