The NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship How Do Teams Qualify For It? 

The NCAA Volleyball Tournament
Teams, Seeding, Ranking and Schedule
How Does It All Work? 

Katie Slay celebrates with 7-time NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship winners Penn State Nittany Lions (Penn State News)Katie Slay celebrates with 7-time NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship winners Penn State Nittany Lions (Penn State News)

I love NCAA volleyball tournament time. 

Because the strongest players and teams rise to the occasion. After four months from August through September, October and November of local and regional competition, the real show begins. 

Stanford women's volleyball captured its 8th NCAA womens volleyball championship in a 3-2 win over Nebraska in Minneapolis.

Let's get started.

I decided to flip the script a little bit and start with the "What" so this all makes sense from the beginning. 

NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship 

What is the NCAA Womens Volleyball tournament?

This season ending final championship tournament is sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in each of its divisions.

Although there are Division II and Division III championships, in this case I'm talking about the top of the top which is the Division I NCAA Womens Volleyball championship tournament.

Here's how it works. 

The playoff tournament is single elimination format which means when the tournament begins, once your team loses your team is out and your season is officially over for the year. 

Only 64 teams are allowed in the championship NCAA Volleyball tournament each year. 

First there's a first round of 64 teams which becomes 32  teams that will compete in the second round. 

The third round also called the "Regionals" has 16 teams competing at four different sites, while the fourth round also known as the Elite Eight round has the top 8 teams remaining in the tournament. 

The fifth round better known as the semifinal round is famously called the "Final Four" with the four remaining teams in the tournament all competing under the same roof in two separate matches which usually takes place the second week in December.  

The sixth round are the finals where the last two teams standing compete against each other on national television in hopes of winning and being crowned the NCAA Womens volleyball championship tournament winners for the year. 

NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship

32 of the 64 teams are automatically included in the tournament because they earned the right, by finishing first in their season ending conference championships. 

There are 33 collegiate conference members in the NCAA all across the US each with championship tournaments held at the end of their regular conference seasons which end in November.

By Thanksgiving weekend, the first place conference championship winners are declared because they won their conference championship. 

So if your team is a conference champion first place winner, then you and your teammates know you all qualified for an automatic berth into the NCAA volleyball tournament championship playoffs.  

NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship 
Automatic Berth Qualifiers 

The last weekend of the Thanksgiving holiday, is when we usually learn the complete list of the conference champions.

NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship
32 At Large Bids


How are the other 32 teams chosen that make up the 64 team field? 

Every year usually during Thanksgiving weekend there's a NCAA volleyball selection show on ESPN

During that show the announcements are made about

  • how teams are seeded and ranked in the tournament
  • which teams are hosting the regionals which are what the third and fourth rounds of the NCAA volleyball tournament are called
  • which teams will have to travel to play
  • and in which bracket are each of the teams placed in?  

Every year teams gather together at homes, local eateries and even gyms to watch the televised announcements in hopes that their team "wins a bid" in other words there team is selected to go to the "dance":...which what the NCAA volleyball tournament is called "the dance."

Take a look at how some teams around the country reacted to watching the NCAA volleyball selection show last week

These teams are chosen, some times controversially by a committee that considers each team's

  • season ending national ranking 
  • season ending win-loss record 
  • opponent strength 
  • strength of the team's playing schedule 

So if during the your team's season you played and beat tough teams then that would count much more than playing against and beating easy teams. 

Based on all this info they "seed" the tournament brackets, which means they place each team in a spot according to who they have figured out should be ranked or seeded first, second third all the way to the 64th team in the country.

Watch The NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship Selection Show Special Again

Their selections are kept secret until they announce everything live on TV during the NCAA Volleyball Selection show. 

Thank you for visiting this page. I'd love to know which teams are your personal favorites and who you'll be rooting for when the tournament starts. 

Be sure to leave me a comment in the box below to let me know your thoughts. 

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