Published Nov. 11, 2013
Springfield, Ohio – The 12th-ranked Wittenberg University volleyball team has been selected to compete in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the 18th consecutive year and the 19th time in school history. For the third straight year, the Tigers will open national tournament competition at Calvin College, where Wittenberg will take on Bluffton on Thursday, Nov. 14.
The Tigers’ contest against Bluffton (16-18), the surprise champion of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, is one of four first-round matches scheduled for the opening day of the regional tournament hosted by Calvin, the 2010 national champion and 2012 national runner-up. Winners will advance to the regional semifinals on Friday, Nov. 15, and the championship match is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16. All match times will be announced later today.
The winner of Wittenberg’s first-round match versus Bluffton will square off against the winner of the Buffalo State (25-9)/Chicago (26-10) match on Friday. The other half of the regional bracket includes opening round matches featuring Calvin (29-1)/PSU-Behrend (22-8) and Mount Union (30-4)/Carnegie Mellon (25-9). The Tigers have played Calvin in the regional championship match each of the last two years, defeating the Knights en route to the NCAA Division III title in 2011 before dropping a heart-breaking 3-2 decision on the same floor in 2012.
The winner of the regional bracket will advance to the national tournament, with quarterfinals, semifinals and finals set for the weekend of Nov. 21-23, at Hope College in Holland, Mich.
Wittenberg advanced to the 2013 NCAA Division III Tournament by virtue of the North Coast Athletic Conference’s (NCAC) automatic berth after winning the NCAC regular season and tournament titles. The Tigers, who compiled records of 23-8 overall and 8-0 in the NCAC, have been ranked in the top 13 nationally all season. Seven of the Tigers’ losses in 2013 have come against teams ranked nationally, in addition to a loss at NCAA Division II scholarship program Cedarville.
Wittenberg has a 5-7 record against teams that earned berths in the national competition.
The Tigers enter the tournament with a head of steam, winners of nine straight matches, culminating in an NCAC Tournament championship match victory over Hiram on Saturday, Nov. 9. Wittenberg has won 19 NCAC regular season titles, including the last eight, and 19 NCAC Tournament titles, including the last seven, in the last 22 years. The Tigers will take winning streaks of 43 straight NCAC regular season matches and 15 straight NCAC Tournament matches into the 2014 campaign.
Wittenberg is making its 19th NCAA appearance and 18th in a row (1993-96-97-98-99-00-01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11-12-13). The Tigers have reached the NCAA Division III Tournament Round of 16 a total of 12 times in school history, the national quarterfinals six of the last 11 years, the national semifinals four times and the championship game for the first time in 2011. Wittenberg has a 32-17 (.653) overall record in the national tournament.
Written By: Ryan Maurer