NCAA: Canadians in the Tournament
The NCAA women's volleyball tournament is one of the most exciting events in our sport. The NCAA is one of the best leagues in the world, and now 64 teams have a chance to play for what they've been working for all year: the NCAA Division 1 Championship.
Even though this even is south of the border, there will be a slight taste of maple for a few teams. Here's the Canadians you can follow throughout the tournament.
Autumn Bailey - Marquette
If there’s any chance of Marquette making a deep tournament run, it will be on the back of Sophmore Autumn Bailey. Named the Big East Player of the Year, the Burlington, Ont. native was a monster offensively, leading the Golden Eagles in kills - 544, 4.73/set; aces - 46, 0.4/set; and points - 630.5, 5.48/set while averaging 3.37 digs/set. She’s fifth in the Nation for Points and is seventh in kills/set.
A first round match-up with Illinois State bodes well for Marquette, but last year’s runners-up No. 4 Wisconsin would follow. Is there a potential upset in the making?
Micheala Reesor - Samford
If there’s one thing Micheala Reesor is hoping for as a senior, it’s a deep tournament run. She's already started her farewell tour by winning Southern Conference title and making her second tournament appearance in four years this year while leading Samford in scoring with 433 kills and 482.5 points.
A date with the Alabama Crimson Tide is a stiff test for the Bulldogs, if they can push through that they have the chance to take on the No. 6 Florida State Seminoles.
Sophie Bukovec - Long Beach State
Sophie Bukovec is doing what we’ve all grown accustomed from her: winning. She helped Long Beach State go undefeated in the Mountain West Conference by averaging 2.12 points/set and putting away 132 kills - she even scored the winning point of the conference championships.
San Diego will have all they can handle trying to a LBSU team that hasn’t lost in a long time, but keeping that streak alive definitely gets a lot more difficult with the No. 6 UCLA Bruins projected to be their match up in the 2nd round.
Alexa Gray - BYU
The BYU Cougars could potentially make a deep tournament run this year, and if they do Alexa Gray will be a major factor. The Cougars build walls like nobody else, leading the NCAA with 3.89 blocks a set and the Calgary native lent a hand in those numbers, throwing down 80 roofs of her own this year. Of course, that’s nothing when you look at the 348 kills she put away.
BYU is facing another strong blocking team in the form of Big East champs Seton Hall. If the Cougars come out alive, they’ll do battle with No. 11 Arizona (or Yale).
Whitney Follette - Arizona State
The Sun Devils could potentially be a darkhorses in this year's tournament. Playing in the PAC-12, wins are never easy to come by and they battled all year long against the top teams in the country. Averaging 0,85 blocks and 2.48 points per set, Whitney Follette is one of the reasons teams are always wary of ASU.
Texas A&M is first up for the Sun Devils, providing them with a perfect opportunity to knock off No. 2 Texas in the second round.
Alicia Ogoms - USC
The women of Troy will be travelling cross country to compete in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this weekend. While Mexican, international Samantha Bricio leads the charge offensively, it's the girl from Winnipeg Alicia Ogoms who leads the team in both hitting percentage (.371) and blocks (101). She's a force to be reckoned with down the middle and only time will tell if players from the east coast will be able to keep up.
Even with their .500 record, USC could play spoiler. Coastal Carolina is up in the first round, and if they can pick up the win their, No. 7 North Carolina is waiting and have dropped only 2 matches all season.
Alexandra Polleto - Colorado State
The Rams could be on the verge of big things this year. They're making their 20th-straight appearance in the Tournament after winning the Mountain West Conference, and will be hosting the first and second rounds for the first time in team history. Toronto's Alexandra Polletto is fortunate enough to have that opportunity in her rookie year.
Of course, Colorado State is pretty lucky to have her as she showed enormous upside. The freshman only appeared in 44 sets, but with a team leading 1.11 blocks per set and a .441 hitting percentage is showing boundless potential.
Hosting the first and second rounds, the Rams will be looking to extend their season past this weekend. Denver should provide little contest in the opener, with Northern Colorado or Colorado to follow.
Allyssah Fitterer and Jazmine White - Michigan State
The Spartans were a surprise at large selection for this year's tournament, but without a pair of Canadians, they wouldn't even have that. Georgetown, Ont.'s Allyssah Fitterer was second in team scoring with 354.5 points and added 100 blocks. Oshawa's Jazmine White in her senior season scored 213 points and stuffed 112 blocks all while playing with a broken left hand.
Loyola Marymount will give the Spartans a run for their money in the first round with the possibly of No. 1 Stanford in the second, it's gonna be tough.
Shainah Joseph - Florida
Sophmore Shainah Joseph will see very little (if any) time on the floor in the tournament - but that doesn't mean you should sleep on her. Easily one of the most physical players in the country, the former Ottawa Maverick will be wowing crowds soon enough for Mary Wise's squad.