INDIANAPOLIS - No. 23 Miami volleyball earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season and will travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on College of Charleston in the first round Friday at 5 p.m. The Gainesville bracket will be hosted by the University of Florida at the O'Connell Center and will also include Tulsa.
The bracket is in the Austin Region that contains national seeds No. 3 Texas, No. 6 Southern California, No. 11 Kansas and No. 14 Florida.
"I actually thought it was a pretty good probability that we would be sent to Gainesville," ACC Coach of the Year Nicole Lantagne Welch said. "We look forward to preparing to play College of Charleston, knowing historically that [CofC head coach Jason Kepner] has done a great job with that program. Anyone can beat anyone in the NCAA Tournament, so we will have to play at our best in order to win this weekend."
The Canes, who hold a 3-4 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, also traveled to Gainesville in 2009. Last season, the team advanced to the second round after defeating Northern Illinois in the Ames bracket before falling to host Iowa State. The best postseason run came in 2002 when Lantagne Welch led the Hurricanes to the Sweet 16.
This year, Miami (25-5, 17-3 ACC) recorded its most conference wins since joining the ACC in 2004 to finish in second place. Boasting six All-ACC selections, the Canes led the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.167), assists (13.32/set), kills (14.35/set) and blocks (2.91/set). The team went 4-0 in neutral site matches and 8-5 on the road in the regular season.
College of Charleston (26-7, 14-2 SoCon) earned the automatic bid out of the Southern Conference by defeating Furman in five sets in the championship match Monday. The Cougars will be making their seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament, with the last appearance coming in 2009. Miami leads the all-time series against CofC, 3-0, but the two teams have not met on the volleyball court since 1979.
Host Florida (25-4, 19-1 SEC) won the Southeastern Conference for the 20th time under head coach Mary Wise this season. The Gators have been ranked as high No. 11 in the AVCA Poll and are fifth in the nation with a .301 team hitting percentage. UF and UM have only met eight times in history, with the last meeting coming in 1978.
Tulsa (26-9, 14-2 C-USA) won the Conference USA Tournament to earn an automatic bid, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season. The Golden Hurricane will play Florida Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round. Miami defeated Tulsa, 3-0, in the only meeting between the programs in 2001.
In addition to Miami, Florida State, North Carolina and NC State will represent the ACC in the postseason. The Big Ten and Pac-12 led all conferences with seven teams each, as Penn St. and Stanford are the top two national seeds.For all the latest information on Miami Hurricanes volleyball, follow the official Twitter feed, @CanesVB, or "Like Us" on Facebook at facebook.com/MiamiHurricanes. In addition, the program is on Instagram (CanesVB).