NCAA WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
Nearby site deflates Texas State
The Bobcats figured a matchup against the Rainbow Wahine would mean a trip to Hawaii
ELATION followed by deflation, all in a matter of seconds. That was Texas State's reaction when watching Sunday's selection show for the NCAA women's volleyball tournament.
"Of course, when the bracket came across 'Hawaii vs. Texas State' our kids almost fell over, thinking we were 'off to Hawaii!' " Bobcats coach Karen Chisum said yesterday. "Then came ... 'in Austin, Texas.'
"It's always nice -- or so the kids think -- to be rewarded with a 'big trip' for the NCAAs, so there was some disappointment that we were going to Austin again for the second year in a row, 30 minutes from home. But it's great for our fans. We told the kids that it doesn't matter if it's Tallahassee, Los Angeles, Honolulu or Austin, you're in a gym getting ready to compete."
Chisum may be one of the few coaches who found a silver lining in their tournament draw since Texas State is just happy to be still competing. The Bobcats, seeded fourth in the Southland Conference tournament, were the upset winner Saturday. The three straight wins improved their record to 17-14 and gave them the league's automatic NCAA berth.
The rest of the country wasn't as happy with the draw, according to Hawaii coach Dave Shoji, whose seventh-seeded team was shipped to Austin and will face Texas State on Friday (1 p.m. HST).
"All I can say is there are a lot of upset coaches in the country right now," said Shoji, who was in contact with a number of his colleagues yesterday. "It's mind-boggling how they came up with some of the scenarios when all it would have taken was common sense.
"My 16-year-old son (Erik, the starting libero for Punahou's state championship team) could have balanced the bracket very easily. He knows these teams. I honestly think the committee picked it all Friday and did not make any adjustments for what happened Saturday."
Several coaches shared Shoji's opinion that the teams were predetermined before the final day of competition. Among the things that happened Saturday, Texas handed No. 1 Nebraska its first loss of the year, and Wichita State (28-3) was upset in the final of the Missouri Valley tournament by Missouri State.
All the victory by Texas (23-4) did was move the Longhorns up four spots in yesterday's CSTV/AVCA Coaches 25 poll into a tie with Hawaii (25-6) at No. 7. Wichita State, ranked 25th, did not receive an at-large berth.
Shoji also took issue with seven teams getting in from the Big 12 and six from the SEC, while teams such as Wichita State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (third in the Big West, 19-6) and New Mexico State (tied for second in the WAC, 20-7) were not selected.
"It's mind-boggling how they put some teams in that don't belong," Shoji said. "The ones who all got in but shouldn't have are from the BCS conferences. The ones who didn't get in but should have are from mid-majors."
A case in point is Kansas from the Big 12. The Jayhawks finished eighth in the conference at 7-13, 15-14 overall, lost eight straight during the season and went 3-11 in their final 14 matches. (One of the selection criteria is record during the last part of the season).
Hawaii is not alone when it came to getting a tough draw. Both third-seeded Washington (26-1) and fourth-seeded Arizona (22-6) were sent to difficult sub-regionals, the Huskies to Colorado State and the Wildcats to Utah.
Hawaii, Washington, Arizona and 14th-seeded Purdue were the only seeded teams not to be hosting this week.
The week did start off on a positive note for the Wahine, who leave tonight for Texas. Senior middle Victoria Prince was named the Western Athletic Conference player of the week for the second time this season.
Prince hit .436 in three victories last week, averaging 4.20 kills and 1.40 blocks per game, to repeat as the WAC tournament MVP.
"Last week was awesome," Prince said. "I love playing in tournaments. It brings out the best in every player.
"For us, we have to carry it over into this one."