High School Volleyball state playoff brackets released, first round starts Tuesday

Ayden-Grifton Girls Volleyball celebrates after defeating Farmville Central in a five-set...
Ayden-Grifton Girls Volleyball celebrates after defeating Farmville Central in a five-set thriller Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 in Ayden, N.C.(WITN Sports)
Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 4:42 PM EST
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WITN/WRAL/HSOT) - The volleyball state playoff brackets have been finalized by the NCHSAA, marking the first playoff events since the beginning of the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, the shortened season, and the reduced number of teams in the playoffs, the playoff format is much different this year compared to past seasons.

The number of teams in the playoffs has been cut in half. Only 32 teams from each classification will make the playoffs this year, eliminating one round of the playoffs. Conferences were assigned to either the East or West region ahead of time, and each region will have 16 teams in it.

Each conference will have at least one automatic bid, but the number of automatic bids depends on the number of teams in the conference competing in volleyball. Conferences with 1-6 teams competing get one automatic bid, conferences with 7-8 teams get two automatic bids, and conferences with nine or more teams get three automatic bids. Any remaining spots will be filled by wildcard teams based on the best conference winning percentages of the teams remaining.

Once the 32 qualifying teams are determined, all first place automatic bids are placed on the bracket first using a random draw, followed by all second place automatic bids. Finally, a third place automatic bids and wildcard teams are placed on the bracket together. The NCHSAA will make an effort to keep conference opponents away from one another in the first round.

The playoffs will be conducted over the next two weeks, culminating in the state championships at Green Level High School in Cary. Here is the schedule:

  • Jan. 9: Playoff brackets are released
  • Jan. 12: First round
  • Jan. 14: Second round
  • Jan. 16: Third round
  • Jan. 19: Regional championships
  • Jan. 23: State championships

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