In year two of this new system where the top seeds in each regional play host, the top four seeds all advanced once again to host in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
It almost wasn’t quite that simple though, as Western Kentucky led #4 Kentucky 2-0 before the Wildcats came out on top in five sets. Had that upset been completed, Nebraska and Lincoln would have played host to the Sweet 16/Elite Eight.
It would have been the first time that has happened too, as so far through two seasons all eight teams with a top four seed have advanced past the second round and into the Regional Semifinals round. Last year all four made the Regional Finals as well.
It would be interesting what would happen if all four seeds lost. That seems extremely unlikely, but in the Penn State Regional that was a Nittany Lions loss away from happening – albeit that was the least likely since they are number one.
This will also be the first time hosting in the Sweet 16/Elite Eight for each of these four teams as part of these new and updated rules – which again has a small sample size in just year two. Penn State was at Nebraska last year while Stanford was in Wisconsin. Kentucky and Florida were both second round outs but otherwise would have been on the road as well. This go around, they each play host to the final 16.
Below are all four of the Regionals where the semifinals get going on Friday, as Penn State, Florida, Stanford and Kentucky will all play host:
Penn State Regional
University Park, Pennsylvania//Rec Hall
Penn State Home Record: 14-1
- Missouri at #1 Penn State
- Illinois vs. Michigan State
Gainesville, Florida//Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Florida Home Record: 16-1
- #15 UCLA at #2 Florida
- #10 USC vs. #7 Minnesota
Stanford, California//Maples Pavillion
Stanford Home Record: 13-0
- Wisconsin at #3 Stanford
- #11 Utah vs. #6 Texas
Lexington, Kentucky//Rec Hall
Kentucky Home Record: 15-1
- #13 BYU at #4 Kentucky
- Colorado vs. #5 Nebraska
All of the match times and scheduling for the rounds ahead and this weekend can also be seen here via a prior VolleyMob article.