The Utes, champions of Mountain West Conference Tournament and fresh off a win over No. 12 Arizona, will face Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA Tournament later this week.
Dec. 1, 2002
SALT LAKE CITY - The No. 24 University of Utah women's volleyball team (25-9) will face Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the University of Southern California later this week. It will be the fifth straight appearance in the single-elimination tournament for the Utes, who last year advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to eventual national-champion Stanford.
"We are happy to be in the NCAA Tournament -- there are a lot of teams that aren't," Head Coach Beth Launiere said. "Texas A&M is a good Big 12 team, with a great program. They have had a lot of success in the NCAAs. I think it will be an exciting match-up and some great volleyball.
"It's close enough for family and friends to go," she added. "Hopefully we'll get some fan support, which is really important in the NCAAs."
The Aggies (20-9) are led by Big 12 Freshman of the Year Laura Jones, who leads the team in kills and aces, and honorable mention all-Big 12 honoree Melissa Munsch, who averages 3.48 digs per game and has 19 double-doubles on the season. Texas A&M was ranked No. 17 in the preseason USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll and remained in the rankings until Oct. 14, when the Aggies fell out of the rankings after 111 consecutive appearances in the poll.
The winner of the Utah/Texas A&M match will face the winner of the USC/San Diego match in the second round of the tournament, which will also be played on the Trojans' home court. "Our focus right now is Texas A&M -- we're taking it one match at a time," Launiere said.