Bison arrive in Newport News, ready for NCAA first round tournament match
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Gallaudet University volleyball team will make its seventh appearance in the NCAA Division III volleyball tournament on Friday, November 12, when the Bison take on host Christopher Newport University at the Freeman Center in Newport News, Va., at 6 p.m.
Gallaudet arrived in Newport News, Va., on Thursday afternoon and practiced for 55 minutes at the Freeman Center. The GU-CNU match is the third of three matches in tomorrow's first round.
The two teams will face each other for the second time this season, as the Captains defeated the Bison 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-23) on October 27 at the Freeman Center. The Bison hold a winning record against CNU all-time with a 6-3 series advantage. The teams first met in 1989 and the last Bison win against CNU came on October 7, 2006, in a 3-2 thriller at the Field House in the Gallaudet tournament. CNU is 2-0 all-time against the Bison in the Freeman Center since its opening in 2000.
The Buff and Blue's North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship win marks the seventh time in program history that the Bison have reached the NCAA tournament and the first time since 2006. Gallaudet holds a 3-6 record in the tournament during its appearances (1985, '96, '99, 2003, '05, and '06). This marks the Bison's third NCAA appearance under head coach Lynn Ray Boren, who is in his sixth season at the helm.
The Bison won the conference tournament by beating regular season South Division co-champion Penn St.-Berks 3-1. Gallaudet finished the season 24-14 overall, with a 7-1 NEAC record, while going 10-3 at home, 3-5 on the road, and 11-6 at neutral sites.
GU is led by NEAC South Division Player of the Year and first team all-conference recipient junior Paige Johnson (North Richland Hills, Texas). She has been in good company with outside hitting sophomore teammates Ann Whited (Fishers, Ind.) and Mari Klassen (White Rock, British Columbia) who are also South Division first team all-conference honorees. Sophomore middle hitter Jessica Israel (Frederick, Md.) received second team all-conference honors as well.
The Captains (35-2), ranked #5 in the nation, have a 10-game winning streak on the line and have won the USA South Athletic Conference four years in a row. CNU is guided by USA South Athletic Conference Player of the Year junior Jessie Heavenrich and Libero of the Year sophomore Abby Hogge. Sophomores Kara Elder and Bailey Jensen, as well as senior Caitlyn Jansen, were named first team all-conference with Heavenrich. Hogge and sophomore Cory Harris received second team all-conference honors.
CNU's Sports Information Department will run live stats, video and radio for Friday's match against Gallaudet. Links for those media devices are posted on the Gallaudet volleyball schedule page next to the event. Bison fans can get ready for the big match by reading the official NCAA tournament game notes for Gallaudet (see below) and also by posting words of encouragement to the team on the Gallaudet Bison Facebook page.