For the fourth time in the last six seasons, Cal Poly Pomona has advanced to the NCAA Division II women's volleyball regionals.
The Broncos, ranked No. 13 in Division II with a 17-15 record, will host California Collegiate Athletic Assn. rival Cal State Bakersfield in their opening-round match of the Southwest Regional at 7:30 p.m. Friday at UC Riverside. Bakersfield, ranked No. 10, has a 24-12 record.
The winner will meet fourth-ranked Riverside (23-4) in the regional final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Pomona has been led by senior hitter Paula Tezak and senior middle hitter Gayle Deisinger, who were selected to the All-CCAA first team last week.
Leading the way for Bakersfield has been senior hitter Maggie Aston, who was also a first-team all-conference selection. Another standout is setter Joann Haller.
The Roadrunners defeated Pomona in two meetings in conference play, the first in five games at Pomona and the second in three games at Bakersfield. But Pomona Coach Paul Gabriel is hoping for an upset.
"We are very happy to be playing at this time," Gabriel said. "When Robin (Ikeda) went down (earlier in the season), we thought of ourselves as taking the spoiler role. Now that we have made the tournament, we feel much the same way and realize that we can win if we play well.
"All of these teams are very closely matched, so anything can happen."
That may be true. But Riverside, which defeated both teams twice in conference play, is the favorite.
The winner of the Southwest Regional will advance to the NCAA final eight tournament next week at an undetermined site.
After balancing its record by winning its own tournament last week, the Cal State Los Angeles women's basketball team will compete in the eight-team Lady Buff Classic that starts today at West Texas State in Canyon.
Cal State L.A., 3-3, will meet Johnson C. Smith University of North Carolina in its opener. California Collegiate Athletic Assn. squads UC Riverside and Chapman are in the tournament.
Host West Texas State, which finished second in NCAA Division II last season, may be the team to beat. Second-round games will be played Friday and the title game is Saturday.
Cal State heads into the tournament with momentum after winning its sixth annual Golden Eagle Women's Basketball Tournament last week. The Golden Eagles defeated Chico State, 66-55, in the first round of the tournament and upended undefeated Air Force, 90-78, in the championship game.
Air Force had been 4-0.
"I was real pleased," Coach Fran Buckless said. "That is the type of basketball we are capable of playing."
The Golden Eagles have been led by junior guard LeeAnn Horner, senior center Lupe Quintana and senior forward Sandra Acosta.