For the fourth year in a row, Nebraska Wesleyan University has been selected to participate in the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship.
The fifth-seeded Prairie Wolves (17-11) will travel to Hayward, Calif., to face the University of Puget Sound (17-8) in a first round match scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (PST) this Thursday. The Loggers are seeded No. 4 in the West Regional and ranked No. 21 in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll released on Oct. 30.
“Our team is excited, and I hope we are ready to take advantage of this opportunity,” Head Coach Gina Chambers said. “We’re focused on keeping our confidence and playing at the level needed to advance in the national tournament.”
Making its 11th NCAA appearance overall and ninth in the last 12 years, Nebraska Wesleyan is seeking its first postseason victory since 2002.
Hayward (California State University East Bay) was also the West Region host in 2001, the last time NWU headed west for regional play. That year the Prairie Wolves pushed the University of La Verne to a fifth game before falling to the eventual NCAA champions.
Nebraska Wesleyan finished 8-8 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, but was one of four independent teams selected through pool B. NWU made the tournament based on its 9-3 mark against NCAA Division III teams and its 2-2 record against teams who made the 61-team field. In those four matches, the Prairie Wolves defeated the University of Wisconsin-Platteville 3-0 and College of St. Benedict 3-2, but lost to Carthage College 3-1 and Carleton College 3-0.
Thursday’s foe, Puget Sound, finished 12-4 in the Northwest Conference and placed second in the final league standings behind the West Region’s No. 1 seed Pacific Lutheran University (23-3). The Lutes are ranked No. 14 in the latest AVCA poll and await the Nebraska Wesleyan-Puget Sound winner in a match scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (PST) Friday.
All three teams on the other side of the bracket were also nationally ranked last week: No. 5 La Verne (26-6), No. 10 Cal State East Bay (28-4) and No. 23 Colorado College (22-10). The West Region final is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PST) on Saturday.
To view the regional web site, click here.