A Year In Review: College Volleyball

The NCAA holds the Division 1 Women's Volleyball tournament every year.

Photo Credit: Photo Via Freepnglogos.com

The NCAA holds the Division 1 Women's Volleyball tournament every year.

By: Angelina Wintonick, Sports Editor

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The NCAA Division 1 Volleyball season and tournament, has come to an abrupt end, for the year of 2018, and many are shocked on how the results turned out.

Background

For those who may not be familiar with the NCAA, or the division 1 volleyball programs across the country; volleyball was one of twelve women’s sports that was added to the NCAA championship program for the 1981-1982 school year. Colleges and universities all over the nation contain division one programs for women’s volleyball. These teams eventually hope to continue their season into the annual NCAA championship tournament, which proves the best school.

The first NCAA championship tournament was in 1981, with 20 schools competing fiercely for the title. From there, the tournament greatly expanded, moving to 28 teams, 32, 48 and to its current size of 64. 64 teams from over 200 Division 1 programs all over the country, qualify for the tournament, depending on how they do during regular season. Once selected, they must compete in a single elimination tournament.

2018, in particular, contained many underdogs, shaking up the competition. Many new additions to this year’s bracket, contained teams like Bryant University from Rhode Island, Stony Brook from Pennsylvania, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Pittsburgh had a shockingly amazing season, coming up as a true underdog. Over the course of a week or two, the competition had simmered down, to few finalist teams.

Teams like Oregon and BYU had especially preserved, defeating highly ranked teams such as Texas and Minnesota to shake up the competition. While on the other side of the bracket, well-known team, Penn State held out their own defeating teams in several rounds with 3-0 set records, (college volleyball plays best out of 5 sets; one set goes up to 25 points, except the last, which goes to 15 points). Illinois also had made a surprise appearance, barrelling through teams such as Wisconsin and Marquette.

Final Four

After many highly-intense matches of volleyball, action-packed rallies, and sweet victories, it came down to the final four. Four teams who preserved the entire tournament, rising above many well-ranked teams, had battled through to see the finish line at the end. Stanford, BYU, Illinois, and Nebraska all celebrated their final-four spots for a short period of time, and then proceeded to prepare for the battle at hand. Stanford had defeated BYU quickly, with three sets to none.

But on the other side, Illinois and Nebraska had been at a full-out war. Illinois won the first two sets, with strong defense and hitting percentages, but soon began to lose stamina. Nebraska’s Mikaela Foecke, a MVP of the tournament, had a total of 19 kills against Illinois. Also with the help of Lexi Sun, a transferred sophomore from Texas, who contributed 19 kills as well. Nicklin Hames, a freshman setter, from Maryville, Tennessee, helped lead Nebraska to many victories throughout this season; including contributing 46 assists throughout the match against Illinois. As Nebraska fought back to win 3-2 sets, they were able to secure a spot in the final two against Stanford.

The Championship

Being named as one of the greatest championship matches in years, the championship trophy is headed back to Stanford University, in Stanford California. With Nebraska being champion of 2017’s NCAA tournament, Stanford had pushed through exhaustion to win a 5 set thriller. The championship match had was in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 2018. Junior, outside hitter, Kathryn Plummer finished with 19 kills and 10 digs. Libero Morgan Hentz, who had named as All-Tournament, had a career-high of 32 digs. Scores of the game included 28-26, 22-25, 25-16, 15-25, and 15-12. With an amazing fight put up by both teams, the match was quite a thriller.

The NCAA Division 1 tournament was nothing less than spectacular this year. With many new teams making it very far, show what the future may hold for these so-called underdogs. Blood, sweat, tears and especially hard-work had been put into these extended seasons, and many 5 set thriller matches were able to prove that.

Congratulations to Stanford for coming out on top, and the nation is already excited to see what 2019 entails!

 

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