11/15/04 — Volleyball Trojans earn NCAA Tournament bid

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Volleyball Trojans earn NCAA Tournament bid

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on November 15, 2004 1:56 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College has earned its first-ever NCAA volleyball championship bid.

The Trojans will be the No. 6 seed in the Atlantic Regional in the 2004 NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championship, it was announced Sunday. The Trojans will face No. 3 seed Indiana (Pa.) in the first round at noon Thursday at Lock Haven, Pa. Top-seeded Lock Haven is the host school for the Atlantic Regional.

Mount Olive (24-12) was ranked No. 6 in the Atlantic Region in each of the last two regional polls and finished the regular season with a six-match winning streak. The Trojans were the No. 2 seed in this weekend's Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Tournament, but were upset in the quarterfinal round by No. 7 seed Barton.

"It's kind of amazing to lose in the first round of the conference tournament and still get a bid," said junior Heidi Busch, a three-time All-CVAC first team outside hitter from Fort Wayne, Ind. "But I feel we played well enough throughout the season to deserve it."

Mount Olive had been ranked in the region in each of the previous two years, but did not receive a bid to the tournament. The players were preparing themselves for the worst.

"After the last two years, we didn't want to get our hopes up too high," said Colby Mangum, a junior middle blocker from Wilmington. "We would rather be happily surprised than disappointed again."

Mount Olive faced Indiana, PA in September, falling 30-27, 30-21, 30-17 in the Capital City Classic at Charleston, W. Va. Heidi Busch led the Trojans with 17 kills, while Anna Luft added 15 kills and recorded a .480 hitting percentage. Indiana (26-10) reached the semifinals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament over the weekend.

For the first time in conference history, three CVAC teams are going to the NCAA II Volleyball Championship. Lees-McRae, which won its seventh consecutive CVAC championship Sunday, returns to the NCAA II championship for the fourth year in a row, while St. Andrews is making its first-ever trip to NCAA II post-season. Lees-McRae is the No. 5 seed and St. Andrews is No. 7.

The eight-team Atlantic Regional is a single-elimination tournament and concludes Saturday. The winner of the Atlantic Region advances to the eight-team national finals December 2-4 at a site to be determined.

NCAA II Volleyball Championship

Atlantic Regional, Lock Haven, Pa.

Hosted by Lock Haven University

First Round

No. 1 Lock Haven vs. No. 8 North Carolina Central

No. 2 California (Pa.) vs. No. 7 St. Andrews

No. 3 Indiana (Pa.) vs. No. 6 Mount Olive

No. 4 Lees-McRae vs. No. 5 Clarion