Division III volleyball championship tournament comes to WUSTL

Eight top teams compete at the Field House for national title

The campus of Washington University in St. Louis will be a hotbed of volleyball activity this weekend, Nov. 19-21, as the 2010 NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship comes to the Washington University Field House.

The field of eight teams — including the No. 3 WUSTL volleyball team on a quest to win back-to-back national titles — was set last weekend.

“To be selected as the host site is a privilege,” says John Schael, director of athletics. “To have the participating student athletes, coaches and administrators on our campus is a pleasure, and to have Washington University’s named connected with the championship is an honor.”

This is the first of two consecutive years the university will host the championship event. The 2011 NCAA Division III championship also will be held here next November.

The single elimination tournament gets under way at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, with four quarterfinal matchups. The semifinals will follow on Saturday and the national championship match is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21.

The action opens with No. 12 University of St. Thomas facing No. 3 Juniata College in the first national quarterfinal at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19; No. 10 Calvin College faces No. 24 University of Massachusetts Boston at 3 p.m.; followed by No. 1 Emory University playing No. 5 Christopher Newport University at 5:30 p.m. The Bears play at 8 p.m. against No. 15 New York University.

Tickets will be on sale at the Washington University box office beginning an hour and a half prior to the start of the first match each day. Day passes are $8 for adults and $5 for students. All-session passes, which are good for all three days of the tournament, cost $20 for adults and $12 for students. Advance tickets are available all this week at the Athletic Complex between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Junior Lauren Budde will be a key player in the Bears’ defense of their national title this weekend at the Washington University Field House.

Washington University has an NCAA-record 10 national titles and is the defending national champion. The Bears are appearing in the NCAA quarterfinal for the 21st time in school history. WUSTL (34-3) defeated No. 14 University of Wisconsin-Platteville Nov. 14 in the Kenosha, Wis., Regional to advance. Junior middle hitter Lauren Budde had 11 kills, 12 digs and four blocks in the victory over Platteville and was named a regional Most Outstanding Player for her efforts last weekend.

St. Thomas advanced to the national quarterfinals for the first time in school history with a 3-0 victory over St. Olaf College Nov. 14. The Tommies were an at-large selection to the 2010 tournament field out of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and are 31-6 overall.

Juniata College has won two national titles and was the national runner-up in 2009. The Eagles are 33-5 overall this season and defeated Frostburg State University, 3-0, to win the Middle Atlantic regional. Juniata won the Landmark Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and is the only team to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals during every season.

Calvin College returns to the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time since 1992. The Knights upset No. 2 Wittenberg University, 3-1, to capture the regional championship. An at-large selection from the MIAC, Calvin is 29-4 this season.

Massachusetts-Boston joins St. Thomas as a first-time competitor in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Beacons defeated Springfield College, 3-2, in Sunday’s regional final. Massachusetts Boston won the Little East Conference in 2010 and boasts a 30-4 overall record.

Emory University returns to the NCAA championship after a one-year absence. The Eagles won their first national title in 2008, and defeated Cal Lutheran in five sets Nov. 14 to earn another trip to the NCAA quarterfinals. Emory won the University Athletic Association (UAA) title and is 33-4 overall.

Christopher Newport survived a five-set thriller against Randolph-Macon to capture its second straight regional title. The Captains won the USA South Athletic Conference and are 38-2 overall this season. Christopher Newport made its first ever appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals in 2009.

New York University also needed five sets to advance out of regional play, defeating Stevens Institute of Technology. The Violets are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005 and finished as the national runner-up in 2003. New York is one of three UAA teams in the quarterfinals and is 38-5 overall.

This weekend’s national final tournament is the first time WUSTL has hosted the championship rounds since a string of four straight years from 1989-1992. The university has hosted six NCAA Division III championships overall, also serving as the host site for the 1985 men’s soccer championship, and 2007 men’s tennis championship.