The field of eight teams that will convene on the campus of UW-Oshkosh for the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship has been finalized.
UW-Oshkosh will host the final three rounds of the 35th edition of the championship from Thursday through Saturday (Nov. 17-19) in the Kolf Sports Center Field House.
The eight teams advancing to the national quarterfinals are Calvin College (Mich.), Eastern University (Pa.), Emory University (Ga.), Southwestern University (Texas), Tufts University (Mass.), University of Mary Washington (Va.), University of Northwestern-St. Paul (Minn.) and Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.).
Thursday’s quarterfinal matches begin at 12:30 p.m. Thursday with Calvin College battling Emory University. Eastern University then plays University of Northwestern-St. Paul at 3 p.m. Thursday, followed by Southwestern University against Tufts University at 5:30 p.m. and University of Mary Washington against Washington University in St. Louis at 8 p.m.
The championship continues with the semifinals at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and concludes with the national title match at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Each of the final eight teams clinched trips to Oshkosh by winning three matches at their respective regional tournaments held Nov. 10-13.
The quarterfinal round of the 64-team championship will feature seven programs ranked by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Calvin College (30-1 record) is ranked second in the AVCA poll while Emory University (33-5) is listed fifth, Southwestern University (33-4) seventh, Eastern University (32-5) 13th, University of Mary Washington (31-3) 14th, Washington University in St. Louis (25-10) 16th and University of Northwestern-St. Paul (33-4) 18th.
Washington University in St. Louis has won a division-leading 10 national titles while Calvin College won championships in 2010 and 2013, and Emory University claimed the title in 2008. Washington University in St. Louis secured championships in 1989, 2003, 2007, 2009 and six straight from 1991-96.
Eastern University made previous trips to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2011 and 2013 while Tufts University is appearing the national quarterfinals for the second time (2009).
Making their first trips to the national quarterfinals are Southwestern University, University of Mary Washington and University of Northwestern-St. Paul.
Calvin College received an at-large berth into the NCAA postseason out of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). The Knights began the season with 27 consecutive victories before falling, 3-2, to Hope College (Mich.) in the final match of the MIAA Championship. Calvin College, which hosted its own regional, won its first two NCAA postseason matches by 3-0 scores before downing Millikin University, 3-1, in the regional final. The Knights own a 48-25 record in 26 NCAA Championship appearances.
Eastern University earned an automatic berth into the field by winning the tournament title in the Middle Atlantic Conferences Freedom Conference. The Eagles enter the quarterfinals on a 12-match winning streak, including three 3-0 victories at the Hoboken (N.J.) Regional. Eastern University advanced to the final tournament with a 3-0 decision over regional host Stevens Institute of Technology. The Eagles have a 28-16 record in 17 NCAA Championship appearances.
Emory University clinched an automatic berth into the Division III Championship by winning the University Athletic Association (UAA) tournament. The Eagles have won 11 consecutive matches, including a 3-0 triumph over regional host The College at Brockport (N.Y.) to reach the quarterfinal round. Emory University has compiled a 45-21 record in 22 NCAA Championship appearances.
Southwestern University was awarded an at-large berth into the NCAA postseason after falling in the title match of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Pirates opened the Dallas (Texas) Regional with a 3-2 decision over the University of La Verne (Calif.) and continued their school-best NCAA run with a 3-2 victory over regional host University of Texas at Dallas in the final. Southwestern University owns a 13-13 record in 14 NCAA Championship appearances.
Tufts University earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Championship after losing in the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament title match. The Jumbos were selected to host a regional and secured their spot in the quarterfinals with of 3-1 victories in both the semifinal and final rounds, including a 3-1 win over Springfield College in the title match. Tufts University has an 11-7 record in eight NCAA Championship appearances.
University of Mary Washington secured an automatic berth into the Division III postseason by winning the tournament title in the Capital Athletic Conference. The Eagles hosted a regional and defeated Juniata College (Pa.) by a 3-1 score in the championship match. University of Mary Washington owns a 4-3 record in four NCAA Championship appearances.
University of Northwestern-St. Paul clinched an automatic berth into the NCAA postseason after winning the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference tournament title. The Eagles were chosen to host a regional and reached the national quarterfinals by ousting defending national champion and top-ranked California Lutheran University, 3-2, in the regional final. Northwestern University-St. Paul has a 7-6 record in seven NCAA Championship appearances.
Washington University in St. Louis earned at at-large berth into the NCAA postseason field after falling, 3-1, to Emory University in the semifinal round of the UAA tournament. The Bears opened play at the Whitewater (Wis.) Regional with a 3-2 decision over Heidelberg University (Ohio) and clinched a spot in the national quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over regional host UW-Whitewater. Washington University in St. Louis owns a 101-20 record in 30 NCAA Championship appearances.
Kolf Sports Center, which seats nearly 5,000 people, is hosting the final rounds of the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship for the second time. UW-Oshkosh previously hosted the semifinals and final of the 1996 championship when the Titans, Juniata College (Pa.), St. Olaf College (Minn.) and Washington University in St. Louis were the participants.
Last year, California Lutheran University won its first NCAA Division III championship with a 3-0 victory over Wittenberg University (Ohio) in Grand Rapids, Mich.