WKU draws South Carolina in NCAA bracket, No. 8 Georgia Tech to host

The+WKU+volleyball+team+celebrates+after+winning+the+match+against+St.+John%E2%80%99s+University+at+Diddle+Arena+on+Sept.+18%2C+2021.

Allie Hendricks

The WKU volleyball team celebrates after winning the match against St. John’s University at Diddle Arena on Sept. 18, 2021.

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

WKU learned where it’s headed in the 2021 NCAA Volleyball Tournament on Sunday night.

The program held a watch party in Diddle Arena, giving the team and its fans the chance to find out the Hilltoppers’ tournament opponents in real-time.

Despite a No. 16 AVCA ranking, WKU was not named as one of the 16 hosts. Instead, the Hilltoppers will be traveling to Atlanta, Georgia, to face South Carolina in their first round of tournament action.

The No. 8 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will serve as first and second-round hosts, facing The Citadel in their first contest of the tournament. 

WKU finds itself on the same quadrant of the bracket as the national No. 1 seed Louisville Cardinals as well as the No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 16 Florida Gators.

South Carolina racked up impressive victories early on in the season, opening the year with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents in Washington State and Rice. A late-season slump brought the Gamecocks’ final record to 14-14 but the program pulled off a 3-2 upset of ranked Kentucky in early November.

Grad student outside hitter/left side Kyla Manning finished eighth in the Southeastern Conference in points per set with a 4.05 average and ranked ninth in kills per set with a mark of 3.54.

Georgia Tech compiled a 23-5 record and went 14-4 through conference play. Signature wins for the Yellow Jackets included a 3-1 victory over a ranked Penn State team and a 3-2 triumph over the No. 3 nationally ranked Pitt Panthers.

Junior outside hitter Julia Bergmann finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in kills (450) while senior setter Matti McKissock’s 1,155 assists paced the league.

Tournament action for WKU will begin on Friday, Dec. 3 at 3:30 p.m. CT against the Gamecocks. The winner of that match and the victor of Georgia Tech vs The Citadel will face off on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. CT for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.