The postseason news is mixed at Nebraska Wesleyan as the Prairie Wolves received their fourth NCAA volleyball bid in the last five years, but the NWU women’s soccer team, despite winning its regular season conference title, was denied its first trip to the NCAA Division III Championships in school history.
Nebraska Wesleyan’s volleyball team (13-15) will travel to St. Paul, Minn., to face the College of St. Benedict (22-5) in a first round match scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday. CSB defeated Nebraska Wesleyan 30-24, 30-19, 30-23 back on Sept. 10 at the Trinity University (Texas) River City Classic in San Antonio.
“I’m excited because we are a much better team than we were,” NWU Head Coach Gina Chambers said. “We receive great preparation from the conference we play in. Our key is consistency and not making errors.”
NWU is the only team with a losing record in the tournament, but earned a No. 6 seed in the seven-team regional, hosted by the University of St. Thomas (Minn.), based on its 5-2 record against Central Region NCAA Div. III teams. Nebraska Wesleyan played five other teams in the 60-team field during the 2005 regular season.
If the Prairie Wolves win on Thursday, they will play the winner of Division III CSTV/AVCA No. 17-ranked St. Thomas (28-6) and No. 15 Central College (26-9) on Friday. The three teams on the other side of the Central Region bracket are also nationally ranked, including No. 1 ranked Washington University (Mo.), 33-1; No. 9 Carleton College, 21-3; and No. 12 Concordia College (Minn.), 21-3.
NWU has shown it can play with the best in NCAA Div. III, having swept Central 30-26, 30-19, 30-26 on Sept. 16. The Prairie Wolves also pushed No. 8 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (35-4) and No. 11 Linfield College (20-4) to their limits before losing in five sets.
The Prairie Wolves were not as fortunate in women’s soccer, however, as NWU was left out of the NCAA tournament. The team finished 13-3-1 and hoped its 4-1-1 record against NCAA Div. III in-region opponents would be strong enough to earn one of four Pool B berths, but those spots were awarded to Aurora University (15-6-1), Westminster College, Pa. (16-4-1), University of Dallas (13-2) and Maryville College, Tenn. (15-3-1).