Top-seeded Wittenberg (24-2) claimed its 21st North Coast Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament title and earned the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament after defeating DePauw, 3-1, in the NCAC tournament championship match on Saturday night at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield, Ohio.
Wittenberg senior right-side hitter Kara Seidenstricker (London, OH/Jonathan Alder) was named the tournament MVP after finishing the two-day event with 27 kills, 53 digs, eight service aces and five total blocks. In the championship match against DePauw, she accumulated 22 digs and eight kills to lead the Tigers to their ninth-straight NCAC Tournament title.
The Wittenberg Tigers found their way to the championship match with a 3-0 victory over Allegheny in the quarterfinal round on Friday night and another 3-0 victory over Hiram in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon. The DePauw Tigers paved their path to the championship match with a 3-0 triumph over Kenyon in the quarters and a thrilling 3-2 victory over Ohio Wesleyan in the semifinal round.
Seidenstricker was joined on the all-tournament team by Hiram junior libero Laura Kelly (Massillon, OH/Jackson), Ohio Wesleyan sophomore outside hitter Brianna La Croix (Woodland Hills, CA/Sierra Canyon), the DePauw senior duo of setter Faith Rolwes (Chesterfield, MO/Villa Duchesne) and libero Keely McGrath (Indianapolis, IN/Cathedral) and finally the Wittenberg duo of senior libero Kristina Fultz (Batavia, OH/Glen Este) and freshman setter Megan Flaherty (Dublin, OH/Coffman).
As tournament champions, Wittenberg has qualified for the NCAA Div. III Volleyball Tournament for the 20th year in a row and the 21st appearance all-time. The Tigers, who won the 2011 NCAA Div. III National Championship, own a 36-19 record in NCAA postseason play and have appeared in five-straight regional championship matches dating back to 2010.
The fifth-ranked Tigers will travel to Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, to compete in one of the eight regional tournaments scheduled across the country. The Tigers open play on Friday against Bluffton (19-12), the automatic qualifier out of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The winner will square off against either Heidelberg (26-5) or McDaniel (20-8) on Saturday. The other half of the regional bracket includes opening round matches featuring Juniata (31-2) vs. Franciscan (15-17) and Case (24-7) vs. Mary Washington (23-7).
The regional championship match will be played on Sunday. All match times will be announced later tonight (11/9).
Complete NCAA Tournament information can be found online at: www.ncaa.com.