By Brent Cahwee
INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee announced Sunday the 64-team field for the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. Thirty-two conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 32 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket.
Among these teams selected for the tournament will be four Native American ladies that will participate with their team in hopes of winning the championship that will be played in Seattle, Washington on December 19th & 20th. Players Bradley Nash, Tiana Dockery, Lauren Schad, and Alicia Ostrander will all play a role for their squads:
Bradley Nash (Navajo), a sophomore outside hitter for the New Mexico State University Aggies, returns to the NCAA tournament for the 2nd straight year after helping the Aggies win their second straight Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship to earn the automatic invite. Nash was named to the WAC All-Tournament team. On the season, Nash was third on the team in kills this season, second on the team in digs and led the team in service aces. The Aggies will travel to San Diego, California to face the University of Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the tournament.
Tiana Dockery (Navajo), a sophomore outside hitter for the Kansas Jayhawks, returns to the NCAA tournament as well for the second straight season. The Jayhawks were a #11 seed last season and earned the right to host the first and second rounds and will do so again this year as well. Dockery finished the season fifth on the team in kills, seventh in digs and 5th on blocks for the Jayhawks. Kansas finished runner up in the Big 12 conference this season to the NCCA tournament’s number one overall seed Texas. Kansas will face the Wichita State Shockers in the first round.
Lauren Schad, (Cheyenne River Sioux), a freshman middle hitter for the University of San Diego Toreros, will be play in her first NCAA tournament as the Toreros come in with a #9 national ranking and will also be the host site for the first and second round. Schad has only played in a few matches this season on a team that has five seniors and five juniors that led the Toreros to the Western Coast Conference (WCC) championship. Prior to playing for the USD, she led the state of South Dakota in hitting percentage, total blocks, blocks-per-game and kills-per-game. San Diego will face the University of California – Santa Barbara in the first round.
Alicia Ostrander, (Oglala Lakota), a sophomore middle blocker for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, will play in her second tournament and the Cornhuskers will be making their 32nd consecutive tournament appearance as the #8 ranked team and will host the first and second rounds as well. Ostrander played in 21 sets this season for the Cornhuskers and has improved. Head Coach John Cook says, “Alicia is one of our best blockers, she has really worked hard to improve her arm swing. I think now she has the confidence to believe that she belongs here and can help this team win.” The Cornhuskers will take on the Fairfield University Stags in the first round.
First- and second-round matches will be played at 16 campus sites. Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play Dec. 13 and 14. The pre-determined regional sites are Lexington, Ky.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Champaign, Ill. All regional semifinal games will be shown on ESPN3. Regional final games will air on ESPNU.
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