TUCSON, AZ - #23 Arizona is on the ground in Lincoln, Nebraska and ready to begin a run in the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats (22-10) will face Missouri in a first round match on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Tucson time.
It’s the program’s 29th trip to the Field of 64 and fifth time in the last six years. They have been to 20 NCAA Tournaments in Dave Rubio’s 27 years as head coach.
Though the opponent is unfamiliar (Arizona and Missouri have not met one another since 1995), the location is not.
The last postseason match the Wildcats competed in was in the Bob Devaney Sports Center, when it hosted the 2016 regional semifinal and final (Arizona lost to eight-seeded Washington in the 2016 Sweet 16).
The host and No. 7 national seed Nebraska Cornhuskers will play Hofstra in the nightcap on Friday in Lincoln.
The winners of Fridays matches will meet Saturday at 6 p.m. for a berth in the NCAA’s Sweet 16.
The Cornhuskers are the defending NCAA Champions and have won four titles since the Year 2000.
UA is led by senior outside hitter Kendra Dahlke, who was named this season to the all-Pac-12 team for the first time in her career.
The Bonsall, California native leads the Pac-12, averaging 4.82 kills/set.
The Wildcats are as healthy as they’ve been all season; they enter the NCAA Tournament missing just one starter (Elizabeth Shelton).
Due to injury, six starters have missed time the last two months. In Pac-12 play alone, Shelton missed all 20 matches (concussion), Kendra Dahlke missed five matches (concussion/sprained foot), Devyn Cross missed three matches (concussion), Paige Whipple missed two matches (concussion), Katie Smoot missed two matches (abdomen injury) and Makenna Martin missed one match (groin injury).
Missouri (23-7, 13-5 SEC) is making its fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament (and 15th overall in school history).
The Tigers finished fourth in the SEC this season and posted 10 wins against RPI top-50 teams.
Missouri is led by Kyle Deberg, who averages 3.58 kills/set this season, one of four Tigers above 2.00 kills/set.
Copyright 2018 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.