WESTERVILLE, Ohio—And then there were eight. The #3 Wittenberg Tigers are one of those last eight teams in NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball, after the Tigers toppled the #20 Ohio Northern Polar Bears in the Great Lakes Region Championship Match on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers ran the table in the NCAC tournament, then carried that momentum into the regional at Otterbein University, as the Tigers defeated Penn State Behrend (3-0), and #19 Junaita (3-1) to earn a spot in the championship match on Sunday.
The Tiger's victory over ONU is their eighth regional championship in program history, as the team most recently won the region in 2015. The junior class of Tigers were freshman on that 2015 team, a unit that made a run all the way to the National Championship match. Karen Wildemann was a part of that freshman class, as the setter earned Great Lakes Region Most Valuable Player as a junior, after putting together a weekend that included 13 kills, 13 digs and 94 assists. Taylor Yontz and Maddie Fischer joined Wildemann on the Great Lakes All-Region Team after guiding the Tigers to a perfect weekend.
Wittenberg is now 8-6 overall in Regional Championships, as the Tigers disposed of Ohio Northern 27-25, 25-14 and 25-10. Wittenberg was led by Aubrey Cox who totaled 10 kills in the match, and Taylor Yontz who picked up 19 digs. Wildemann was the motor that kept the Tiger's offense running all weekend long, as the tournament MVP recorded 35 assists.
Fischer recorded nine kills for the Tigers and served the Tigers to a match victory from 22-10, to 25-10. The NCAC Player of the Year recorded two aces in the last four points, as the Tiger faithful were restless thanks to Coach Labrador pumping up the crowd late in the set.
Wittenberg will now shift their focus to a November 16th national quarterfinal match at Calvin College. The Elite Eight includes; #2 Calvin College, #3 Wittenberg, #6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, #7 Emory, #8 Johnson and Wales, #16 Gustavaus Adolphus, Ithaca and Swarthmore. Wittenberg squared off against Emory early on in 2017 in a five-set thriller in Springfield, a match that saw Wildemann record her first triple-double of 2017. Matchups will be released once the eight teams are re-seeded, as the four quarterfinal matches will take place on Thursday, November 16. The committee will confirm the 1-8 seeds and quarterfinal pairings tonight. An updated bracket will be available for viewing tomorrow afternoon.
Wittenberg is 6-5 all-time against Emory, and 13-14 against Calvin College. The Tigers have never played a match against the remaining teams. The Tigers are 5-2 all-time in national quarterfinal action, and 2-3 in national semifinal matches. Wittenberg most recently traveled to Calvin in 2016 for regional play.
Check back later for more information and updates as they become readily available.
UPDATE 11/12/17 11:00 PM
The committee has re-seeded the final eight teams in Division III as follows:
- Claremont Mudd-Scripps
- Johnson & Wales
- Gustavus Adolphus
#1 Wittenberg will face #8 Swarthmore at 5:30PM on November 16 to open Elite Eight play from Van Noord Arena on the campus of Calvin College. Wittenberg and Swarthmore will battle for the right to play the winner of the 8:00PM #4 Johnson & Wales and #5 Calvin match. The two quarterfinal winners will meet on November 17th at 7:30PM in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to the national championship match. On the other side of the bracket, #2 Emory takes on #7 Ithaca at 12:30PM and #3 Claremont M-S takes on #6 Gust. Adolphus at 3:00PM.