SpecialThe members of the Kennesaw State volleyball team celebrate after finding out they will open the NCAA tournament against Western Kentucky.

The Kennesaw State volleyball team is heading to Bowling Green, Kentucky to square off with No. 15 seed Western Kentucky in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Volleyball tournament.

The Owls (22-8) qualified for the NCAA championship by beating Liberty and Florida Gulf Coast in the ASUN tournament to earn the conference’s automatic bid. This will be the first time in program history that KSU and Western Kentucky will face one another.

The Owls and Hilltoppers will be joined in the Bowling Green regional by Southern Conference rival Samford and Louisville out of the ACC.

This is the second time in the last three years Kennesaw State has earned a trip to the NCAA tournament. In 2017, KSU won the ASUN and faced Oregon in the opening round. The Ducks won in three sets in the Provo, Utah regional.

Lexi Broadwater, Madeline Johnson, Quin Sutphin, Lauren Chastang and Karlee Groover were all part of that 2017 squad and will get a second chance to make a mark on the national level.

Kennesaw State has already played Samford this season, dropping a tough five-set match at the KSU Convocation Center. The Owls have also played Georgia, which will open the tournament against Cal Poly. The Bulldogs downed KSU in a five-set thriller as part of Clemson’s Big Orange Bash back in August.

First round action begins Thursday with Samford and Louisville squaring off at 6 p.m. The Owls and Western Kentucky will play the nightcap at 8 p.m. Second round play will take place Friday at 8 p.m.


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