INDIANAPOLIS – The 2010 Virginia Tech volleyball team continued its historical season today, as the NCAA announced the bracket for this year’s postseason tournament. The Hokies (19-11, 10-10 ACC) earned their first ever NCAA Tournament bid, after having arguably their best season in program history. Tech will face the University of Delaware Blue Hens on Friday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa. Should they win their first round matchup, the Hokies will take on the winner of Niagara and Penn State’s first round competition on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Hokies will have their work cut out for them in the second round should they have to face the three-time defending national champion Nittany Lions.
“The team is very happy. We are glad that we get the opportunity to go to the tournament and we are very excited to play,” said Head Coach Chris Riley. “I am happy that the program is moving in the right direction and proud of what we have done for Virginia Tech. I am very happy for our seniors, Felicia Willoughby and Amy Wengrenovich, who have really built this program to reach this point. We are all excited to go out and play in our inaugural tournament, and we hope to become a permanent fixture in the postseason.”
Virginia Tech will have the chance to earn its 20th win of the season on Friday for just the second time since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hokies posted a 10-10 mark in the ACC, earning 10 conference wins for the third time in their seven-year stint in the conference. However, the biggest difference this year was the tough non-conference schedule that coach Riley planned for his team. Tech faced three of this season’s NCAA Tournament qualifiers in the preseason, and went 2-1 against them. The Hokies defeated both Missouri and Western Kentucky at the Western Kentucky Tournament on Sept. 10-11, who are set to face Northern Iowa and Cincinnati in the first round. Tennessee, the 11th seed, will take on Alabama A&M on Thursday.
Tech is one of five ACC teams to earn a bid to the tournament, and the Hokies defeated two of the other four during the regular season. The Hokies beat then-RPI #9 Duke on Oct. 14, who earned the 12th seed in the tournament and will host High Point in the opening round. They also defeated then-No. 25 Florida State on Oct. 29 for Tech’s first ever defeat over an AVCA top-25 opponent in program history. The Seminoles will take on Georgia Southern in the first round. Miami and North Carolina will also represent the ACC in the postseason, facing Indiana and Mississippi in the opening round.
The Hokies will face the Delaware Blue Hens (26-5) on Friday. Tech is 4-0 all-time against the Blue Hens, but the teams have not faced each other since Dec. 5, 1992, when they played in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. The Hokies went 1-3 at the 1992 women’s NIT, the only other season the Hokies played in December. Delaware is thus the only team that Tech has beaten in a national postseason tournament.
The Blue Hens, ranked 54th in the final regular-season RPI, clinched an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Northeastern, 3-2, in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association Championship, which the top-seeded Blue Hens hosted. It is the third time in four years that Delaware has won the conference tournament. The Blue Hens went 13-1 in the CAA, losing only to Georgia State.
The Hokies and Blue Hens had three common opponents this season, Virginia, Duke and Towson. The Blue Hens lost to Virginia, 3-1, on Aug. 30, and at Duke, 3-0, on Sept. 10. They then beat Towson twice in CAA play. The Hokies went 2-0 this season against the rival Cavaliers, defeated Duke at home on Oct. 14, and downed Towson, 3-0, in Charlottesville on Sept. 18.
For the complete 2010 Division I bracket, click here.
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