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Beverly Oden

NCAA Women: A New Champion Shall Be Crowned

By December 5, 2012

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The first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament are in the books and we now know that there will be no repeat champion. In the most surprising casualty of last weekend, defending champs and No. 7 seed UCLA fell in four sets to unseeded Michigan State in the second round.

The Bruins won only the third set though they had three set points in set two and could not put MSU away. The Bruins led for most of the fourth as well, but allowed Michigan State to claw their way back and then score six of the last seven points for the victory.

The Bruins weren't the only seeded team to make an early exit. No. 10 Louisville lost to Michigan in four, setting up a Michigan-Michigan State regional semifinal. No. 9 Florida State lost a five set thriller to Purdue, who had the added motivation of making it to the regional that they themselves are hosting. No. 11 Kansas was defeated in four sets by an upstart Wichita State squad.

Every region lost at least one seeded team in the first couple of rounds except the Omaha Regional where all four seeded teams live to play another day - No. 5 Oregon will take on No. 12 BYU and No. 13 Washington will take on No. 4 Nebraska in their home state. Oregon escaped with a five set victory over unseeded Hawaii to advance.

Iowa State made the regional after two tougher than expected five set matches against IPFW and North Carolina. Hopefully, they're getting some rest this week because they will have their hands full with No. 2 Stanford in the Regional semi. Stanford won both of its matches 3-0 and will be playing in front of a Bay Area crowd.

No. 3 Texas made the Austin Regional by beating Colgate in three sets and Texas A & M in four. They will take on No. 14 Florida in the regional semi. No. 1 Penn State easily beat its first two opponents, Binghamton and Bowling Green and will take on No. 16 Kentucky in the Regional Semi.

All four top seeds are still alive for now, but the pressure is mounting and things are about to get really interesting. Check out the match-ups for this week's Regional semis which start on Friday.

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