Nick Camacho

Cal Poly women’s volleyball will play Cincinnati-based Xavier in a first-round match at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at Ohio University. The 16th-seeded Mustangs will be making their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

The sub-regional will open with Cal Poly (21-7, 15-1 Big West) against the Musketeers (24-10, 11-2 Atlantic-10) at the Convocation Center. The winner will play the victor of Ohio and Purdue, who play Dec. 1 for a place in the Stanford Regional Dec. 7 and 8.

“Ohio is most likely to win against Purdue,” senior setter Chelsea Hayes predicted. “Ohio runs a quick offense.”

In anticipation of their draw, Mustang players and coaches braced themselves for a number of possibilities.

“We had talked in advance that if we did not host, the best thing for us would be to travel and to travel far,” assistant coach Michael Johnson said. “I’d say more than anything, we’re excited. Those are games we think we can win and we’re going to have to play well. We’ve played Xavier once before, they beat us once before.”

This is the second time Xavier has made it to the field of 64 in program history. Its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 2001.

“We’re happy to be in the tournament. We’re happy to not run up against any teams in the top ten,” Johnson said.

Hayes shares her coach’s sense of opportunity.

“This year has a completely different feel,” Hayes said. “We had our best practice on Saturday. Of course we wanted to host, but you can’t worry about things you can’t change.”

Cal Poly lost to Xavier 3-2 at the ASICS/Coca-Cola Invitational on Sept. 14. It was the first win for the Musketeers over a ranked opponent in program history.

The Musketeers finished second in the Atlantic-10 West Division regular season. Cal Poly has never faced Xavier in previous NCAA Tournament appearances.

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