Say you want a UC-Ohio State matchup? Well, you've got it!
In volleyball, that is...
For the second season in a row, the UC women's volleyball team heads to the NCAA tournament. After a 25-10 record, 12-2 in the BIG EAST, the Bearcats were one of 33 at-large selections for the tournament.
So, that means the Bearcats will play the Buckeyes in the opening round in Columbus on Friday at 8 p.m. at St. John arena. The Buckeyes are 24-9 overall, 12-8 Big Ten, and ended conference play tied for fourth. It's the Buckeyes' 16th appearance in post-season play.
Last year UC beat Western Kentucky in the opening round, before falling to another Big Ten team, Illinois, in the second round. This year the winner of UC-OSU will play the winner of California-Lipscomb. The winner out of Columbus will head to Gainsville for the regional semifinals. The volleyball finals, by the way, will be played in Tampa.
It's just another step in the direction of growing a program. This is a team that finished the season 12-0 at home, to go with its 14-0 record at home last season. Overall, the home win streak now is at 28, the second longest in a country.
Props to longtime volleyball coach Reed Sunahara for building the program, but also for seeing the great high school talent that's right outside his front door. Remember what we mentioned regarding women's soccer here? Well, this area has just as good of volleyball talent--all you have to do is see Ursuline Academy's state championship this year, following last year's runner-up title. And that's just one school. Volleyball talent here comes from both sides of the river:
Lindsay Upton's from Mount Notre Dame; Stephanie Niemer is from St. Henry; Missy Harpenau went to Mother of Mercy; Julie Guenther attended Hamilton Badin; and Jamie Frey went to Roger Bacon, solid high school programs all.
The allure of being able to play BIG EAST talent in your home town is a strong pull for these volleyball players, but the ability to get into the NCAA tournament and build the program for future teams is quite another. These players get the best of both worlds, playing top-level talent in front of family and friends.
If you have the chance, on the way to the UC-Pitt game this weekend, leave a little early and stop by Columbus to watch the U.C. women play Ohio State. They deserve our support as they solidify the foundation for success to come.
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