by Chrissy Zehrbach
The University of La Verne has been chosen as the site for the 2003 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Women’s Volleyball Tournament Western Regional Championships.
The tournament will host competition from Linfield College (Ore.), Cal State Hayward, Colorado College, Gallaudet University (DC), and City College of New York.
“A few high-quality teams are coming to the Supertents,” said Don Flora, ULV head coach. “I think the team is thrilled to be playing at home in front of their friends, family and fans.”
The first round of tournament action took place last night, with Gallaudet (No. 5) facing Colorado (No. 4), and New York (No. 6) against Hayward.
The winner of the New York-Hayward match will face Linfield (No. 2) at 4:30 p.m. tonight, and the winner of the Gallaudet-Colorado match will advance to play the host team La Verne at 7 p.m. tonight.
Winners in today’s contests will compete for the Regional title tomorrow at 7 p.m.
“We have a great opportunity to reach our goal of winning a regional championship,” Flora said.
The Leopards have the chance to face their regional rival, Hayward in the championship round.
Hayward is one of only two losses on ULV’s record (26-2). The Pioneers handed them a 3-2 loss Sept. 26 at the Wild West Shootout Tournament. The squad has been anticipating a re-match ever since.
The last playoff tournament ULV hosted was the NCAA quarterfinals in the 2001 season the season in which it captured the third national championship in ULV women’s volleyball history.
Last season the Leopards reached only as far as the semifinals, dropping a match to Whitworth College, 3-1, in Spokane, Wash.
ULV, currently the No. 3 team in the nation, received the honor to host this season’s regional tournament as the No. 1 seed in the western region.
“Traditionally the hosting opportunities are provided to the No. 1 seed in each region,” said Chris Ragsdale, ULV athletic director. “This is really the reward of a lot of hard work on behalf of the women’s volleyball team.”
The Leopards finished their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season with a perfect 14-0 record, (26-2 overall) winning their fourth straight conference title. ULV also brought it’s SCIAC consecutive win record to 36 matches.
Five members of the team were honored by SCIAC for their outstanding efforts this season. Junior Tricia Schary, middle blocker, was named SCIAC Player of the Year. Schary is the league leader in hitting percentage, averaging .437 on the season. In 89 games, she recorded 301 kills for an average 3.38 per game.
Schary is the third consecutive ULV women’s volleyball player to claim the title Player of the Year. Among them is her teammate Amy Kratochvil. Kratochvil, an outside hitter, was named First Team All-SCIAC along with Amy Smith (outside hitter) and Amanda Thomas (setter). Freshman Megan Powers, middle blocker, was awarded Second Team All-SCIAC.
ULV, as a team, leads in conference statistics. It is the conference leader in six of eight categories. The Leopards end the regular season with the highest team hitting percentage (.288), holding their opponents to the lowest team hitting percentage (.110). The Leopards average 15.44 kills per game and 2.44 blocks per game.
Heading into the postseason, the Leopards’ winning percentage is .929 overall, 1.000 in conference.
“They have shown tremendous dedication, hard work and self discipline all year,” Ragsdale said. “Being the No. 1 seed is what is a result of those efforts.”
“We’re proud of them and very excited to have the opportunity to host,” he said.
Forty-eight Division III teams across the country compete in Regional competition this week.
The Regional Champions will advance to quarterfinals Nov. 22. Finals will be held Dec. 5-6. Locations to be announced.
The Associated Student Federation Forum has purchased 75 tickets for each of the women’s volleyball matches the University of La Verne will compete in this weekend. The first 75 students to attend the game can do so for free if they bring their student ID. Otherwise ticket prices are $4 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and $2 for children 12 years old and younger. ULV plays at 7 p.m. tonight in the Supertents. Should they win that match, they will play again at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the Supertents.