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Jaime Kosiorek prepares to bump the ball in the Bobcats’ game against Ball State on Oct. 16 at The Convo. The Bobcats won the game 3-2. 

Volleyball: Ohio is ready for a long plane ride to take on BYU in the NCAA Tournament

The Bobcats will face the BYU Cougars in their 10th all-time visit to the NCAA Tournament.

The Mid-American Conference Champion Bobcats came together Sunday to celebrate their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and to figure out where they would play.

Instead of breaking into the first round somewhere near Athens, however, the Bobcats watched their name flash up in accordance with a host that many on the team knew was, well, at least somewhere in the United States.

“I found out that some of the members of our team sadly did not know what state BYU was in and then there were a couple players, even more sad, that didn’t know where Utah was,” Ohio coach Deane Webb said.

Ohio (25-7, 13-3 MAC) will play BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 4 in Provo, Utah. 

Regardless of the location, the Bobcats indicated they are excited to take on the Cougars, whom they don’t know much about — since they admitted they haven’t watched a BYU game all year.

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“When we saw BYU pop up, it wasn’t something we were expecting, to go all the way out there," Abby Gilleland said. "I don’t think many of us can point to it on the map."

BYU, a member of the West Coast Conference, received a No. 11 national ranking heading into the tournament, but will serve as a No. 13 seed, first and second round host in the Lexington Region.

The Cougars finished last season as the NCAA National Runner-Up, after powerhouse Penn State swept them in the final.

Even more surprising for the Bobcats is where they didn’t end up.

It was expected Ohio would be traveling by bus to Ohio State, a regional host, to play Dayton (26-5), a team that swept the Bobcats at the end of the regular season.

Ironically, Kentucky (21-9), the only nationally ranked opponent Ohio has beaten all year, took up a spot in Columbus.

“I think every single one of us thought we were going to go to either Columbus or Louisville or maybe Penn State,” Meredith Ashy said. “So to go to Utah is just kind of like, ‘Whoa we did not expect that.’”

Webb said he hasn’t watched much film on the Cougars, but said they are a "big, physical" team that his team will need to start preparing for right away.

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Ohio is expected to fly out Wednesday morning for its first round match on Friday at 9:00 p.m (ET). in the George Albert Smith Fieldhouse, located in an area that is still a bit vague to the Bobcats.

“For a team with a pretty good GPA, we have some work to do on geography,” Webb said. “But for right now, we’re going to focus on volleyball.”

nk596613@ohio.edu

@NKairys

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