WESTERVILLE, Ohio-- #4 Wittenberg women's volleyball is coming off their 11th straight NCAC title, as the Tigers will have a quick trip up interstate 70 to compete in their NCAA Regional. Wittenberg is set to travel to Otterbein University and compete November 10-12. Wittenberg joins #22 Juniata, Brockport, Penn State-Behrend, #18 Ohio Northern, DePauw, Cabrini and host, Otterbein, in NCAA regional action.
Wittenberg opens on Friday against Penn State-Behrend at 3:00PM, with the winner of that match earning spot in the second round of play on Saturday. The Tigers would then play at 2:30PM on Saturday against the winner of #22 Juniata and Brockport. The Championship match is set to tip off on November 12 at 2:30PM. All live stats and video will be provided by Otterbein University throughout the weekend. Oddly enough, Wittenberg has faced off against five of the eight teams in the Otterbein regional in the last two seasons.
Wittenberg's roots run deep with Otterbein, as Monica Wright '05, blossomed as a two-time All-American outside hitter under Coach Paco Labrador's tutelage, as Wright is now in her 11th season at the helm for the Cardinals.
Coach Labrador's assistant, Evelyn Carus, was a four-year letter winner at Otterbein for Coach Wright, where she ranks in the top-10 for digs in a career, season and match. Carus played a key role in the Cardinals' 2012 Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament championship. Otterbein advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament three times during her collegiate career.
As for the 2017 Tigers, Wittenberg features the NCAC Player of the Year in Maddie Fischer, the NCAC Tournament MVP and 2016 AVCA Freshman of the Year in Aubrey Cox, and one of the nation's top setters in First Team All-NCAC selection Karen Wildemann.
The Tigers graced the #1 spot on the AVCA Coaches Top-25 poll for most of the season, before moving to #4 in the final week of regular season action. Wittenberg's 23 NCAC Volleyball tournament titles lead the NCAC by a dominant margin, as the Tigers now shift their focus to avenge an early exit in NCAA play a year ago.
Wittenberg must first try and dispatch a PSUB team that finished the season 19-11, including their fourth Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championship over La Roche. PSUB has won 15 of their last 16 matches, playing their best volleyball as of late. The Tigers rattled off 20 consecutive wins to start 2017, before finishing with an overall record of 22-2. Wittenberg also completed a perfect 8-0 mark in NCAC play, a feat that the Tigers have accomplished the past seven years.
If the Tigers advance to the second round of NCAA tournament action, the making of a battle of old rivals could be on the horizon, as the Tigers could take on the Eagles of Juniata. A familiar foe for the Tigers, Juniata lost their first conference match since 1981 last week, while also snapping a perfect 65-0 mark in Landmark Conference play.
Wittenberg will first focus on PSUB, as Coach Labrador and the Tigers embark on their 23rd NCAA Postseason Tournament appearance.