Cal volleyball snubbed of NCAA tournament bid

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Six Pac-12 teams were selected into the NCAA Division I volleyball tournament as announced on Sunday, but Cal volleyball was not among them.

Of the 64 teams named to the tournament, 32 received an automatic bid via conference championship while the other 32 were granted at large bids by the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball committee. 15 of the teams that received an automatic bid were not in the top 64 RPI rankings going into the final week of play.

The Bears finished their 2019 season under first-year head coach Sam Crosson with a 20-10 overall record. The team’s final six matches of the season ended in losses, leaving the Bears’ conference record (10-10) and dropping the Bears down to a seventh place conference finish.

The Pac-12 programs who did earn a tournament berth are No. 3 Stanford, No. 8 Washington, Utah, USC, UCLA and Washington State.

Four of the Pac-12 teams that advanced to the tournament have a winning record against Cal, but Wazzu and Utah not among them. The Bears beat the Cougars in the teams’ only match this year and went 1-1 against the Utes.

Cal’s sole match against Washington ended in a narrow 3-2 loss for the Bears on Wednesday, and Cal finished its 2019 season with a 3-1 loss to the Cardinal.

Despite the recent losses, four of which were without the Bears’ star outside hitter Mima Mirkovic, Cal was ranked in the AVCA top 25 poll from Week 3 to Week 12 and went into the final week of conference play ranked No. 45 in the NCAA RPI rankings.

Although the committee takes RPI into account, the No. 45 finish wasn’t enough and officially closed out the Bears’ 2019 season.

Surina Khurana covers volleyball. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @surina_k.