SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Samford Bulldogs, the 2018 SoCon champions, will head to Los Angeles, California, to face No. 12 seed Southern California, while ETSU received an at-large bid and will take on Purdue in Lexington, Ky. The tournament field was announced during the Selection Show, which was held Sunday evening on ESPNU.
Both first round meetings are set for Friday, Nov. 30. This is the first time the Southern Conference has received an at-large bid and sent two teams to the NCAA tournament.
Samford (19-14) earned the Southern Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by earning three dominant wins in last week’s SoCon Tournament. The Bulldogs began the tournament with a 3-1 win over Chattanooga in the quarterfinals, a 3-0 victory over Furman in the semifinals, and ending with the team’s 3-1 victory over the regular-season champion ETSU in the finals last Sunday. The title is Samford’s fourth since joining the SoCon, having previously won championships in 2011, 2014 and 2016.
Samford was led in the event by Tournament MVP Taylor Anderton. Anderton was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Krista Boesing and Shayla Phillip. Boesing also earned the Pinnacle Award, which goes to the player with the highest grade-point average on the winning team. The Bulldogs and Trojans will meet Friday, Nov. 30 at 11 p.m. ET.
Following a historic regular season, the Bucs (28-6, 15-1 SoCon) took a sigh of relief Sunday night as they learned their fate as one of 32 at-large teams entered into the 64-team NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Championship tournament. The Bucs are heading to Lexington for the third time in postseason history but will have a new opponent, as the Blue and Gold will take on Purdue this Friday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. ET.
The bid is ETSU’s third all-time, with the previous two entries coming from conference championships each in 2012 and 2017. Both matchups came against the Kentucky Wildcats in the Lexington regionals. Adding to a season where ETSU compiled its largest win total since 1983 with 28 victories, the Bucs will become the first Southern Conference volleyball team to earn an at-large bid to the tournament. Furthermore, the bid marks the first time ETSU will appear in back-to-back NCAA tournaments.