For the first time since the 2014 season, the Oklahoma volleyball team is heading to the NCAA Tournament.

OU, which finished the regular season 19-8 overall and 10-5 in the Big 12, will face Rice at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in College Station, Texas. Host Texas A&M, the No. 13 seed, will play St. John's in the other first-round match with winners to meet on Friday.

It's the 12th NCAA appearance for the Sooners, but their first under coach Lindsey Gray-Walton. OU is 10-11 all-time in NCAA Tournament action. The Sooners lost to LSU in the first round in the program's last NCAA appearance.

“It’s exciting,” Gray-Walton said. “Not too many times do you get the surprise of seeing your name go up. It’s either a pretty good idea that you’re going to be a host or you’re out. When you kind of know that you have a chance to be in and it’s looking pretty good, the excitement of when it goes up on the screen, that’s always awesome. This team has earned it. To sit back and watch that pure reaction come out, I think we all felt it.”