On Friday, the volleyball team will travel to Omaha, Nebraska to take on Missouri State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This is the team's 20th overall appearance in the tournament and seventh straight at-large bid.
The team finished the season on Saturday night after getting a victory against Indiana University with an overall record of 21-8 and 14-6 in the Big Ten Conference, which put them fourth in the conference.
"This is obviously one of the things we work for all year -- to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament and to compete for a national championship," head coach Cathy George said. "I think we are a little disappointed with the way we finished up the regular season, but what I am seeing from our team now is a focus."
Missouri State finished their season off with a overall record of 28-5 and won both of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles. The team plays along with MVC Player of the Year Lily Johnson, Libero of the Year Emily Butters, with Coach of the Year Melissa Stokes at the helm.
Senior setter Rachel Minarick looks at the challenge of starting the tournament with the top teams in the country to advance to the championship after losing in the second round the past three season.
“We’re going to play some good teams, but know that all the teams are going to be good," Minarick said. "We’re in the tournament with the top 64 teams in the country, so they are all going to be good teams, but just knowing and believing in ourselves knowing we can go the distance.”
At the beginning of the season, the team started off with a No. 17 rank and improved throughout the season ranked within the top ten teams. Within the Big Ten Conference, the team was swept by No. 1 Penn State and No. 5 Nebraska and took only one loss from Michigan and Purdue.
The team will take on Missouri State at 5 p.m. at D.J. Sokol Arena on the Creighton campus to kick off. The team who wins will play on Saturday against the winner of the No. 9 seed Creighton and Coastal Carolina match.
“We’re used to being the underdogs and I think we’ve proven ourselves with some good top ten wins, but we also had some falls throughout the season as well," Minarick said. "We’re just hoping to end on a high.”
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