A Year in Review of 2019 College Volleyball

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Photo Credit: Photo Via NCAA

The Stanford volleyball team after they won the last point of the National Championship.

By: Angelina Wintonick, Co-Editor in Chief

What a year it has been for college volleyball? The NCAA Division 1 level has hosted many action-packed 5-sets, heartbreakers and a well-deserved national champion once again. A great way to end off the decade, especially in regards to the highest level of college sports.

Background

There are 330 teams nation-wide that sponsor Division 1 volleyball programs for Women. All 330 of these teams are eligible to compete in the NCAA Division 1 National Championship. 

For people who don’t know much about college sports, Division 1 is the highest level where athletes can compete. College coaches nation-wide scout the greatest top-notch volleyball players around the country, in an attempt to get them to come to their school. Many athletes have Full-ride scholarships, especially to bigger schools, with fully-funded programs.

Division 1 volleyball consists of lots of hard-work; from practices three times a day, to strength and conditioning training, to many games in different states during the week. It is a true level of dedication for athletes to commit to.

Regular Season

The regular season had been a roller coaster of emotions once again, as many underdog teams appeared in the first few games. Baylor University is a surprise this year (29-2) with a ranking of #1 in the country prior to the tournament. Other schools like Pittsburgh, with a rank of #2 going into the tournament, has a spectacular year with a 30-2 record. The top 25 schools rankings change every year, with new teams rising. 

NCAA Tournament

Every year, the NCAA holds the national championships, where teams around the country go head to head 

The selection show is on Sunday, December 1, 2019. The bracket shows before the first round of competition with time and networks so that teams could prepare for the upcoming tournament.

The first and second rounds had been on December 5th through the 7th, being held at 16 non-predetermined campus sites. The winning team from each of the 16 second rounds advanced to the regional rounds.

Regionals were held from December 13-14, where four teams competed in single-elimination regional semifinal competition. The two winners then competed against each other in the regional final. The winning team from the four different regions then advanced to the Championships for the National semi-finals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Final Four

The 2019 National Championship is at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The semi finals were at 7:30 PM. and 9:30 PM, being streamed on ESPN.

The final four contains Wisconsin, Stanford, Baylor and Minnesota. Two intense games were played in the national semifinals, with each team battling for a chance to advance. Stanford had beat Minnesota with a clean sweep of 3-0. Wisconsin had a tougher time with a 3-1 battle, but still came up on top.

National Championship

The National Championship took place on December 21, at 8 P.M. ET.

The 2019 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Championship had been won by the Stanford Cardinals, a repeat of 2018. In a 3-0 set sweep, the Cardinals had taken down the Wisconsin Badgers in Pittsburgh, winning the national title.

This became Stanford’s ninth NCAA national championship, and second consecutive title, as they won it last year against Nebraska. Led by the senior class, the Cardinals won three national championships in the past four years. Lots of credit goes to these seniors, who have been said to be one of the strongest senior classes to come through Stanford.

Stanford won the first set, 25-16. Both teams come out with intense rallies, and lots of energy. They went on to win the second set, leading 2-0 with a score of 25-17. Stanford had mass amounts of blocking, and digging by senior libero, Morgan Hentz. The Cardinals then finished the job, winning the third set 25-20. 

Senior outside hitter, Kathryn Plummer, led the finals with 22 kills, 10 digs and 3 blocks. Morgan Hentz had 17 digs for Stanford, and senior setter, Jenna Grey assisted 39 balls.

Wisconsin did try and battle back, with Wisconsin’s Molly Haggerty, who is a red-shirt junior, had 10 kills for the game, while setter Sydney Hilley had 25 assists. 

2019 Recap

What a year it has been for this collegiate level? Many underdogs, 5-set thriller games, and a well-deserved national champion. 2020’s season should be interesting, with many new recruits coming in for big schools.