The Mount Vernon Nazarene College women's volleyball team will look to culminate one of the best seasons in school history when the Lady Cougars travel to the University of Michigan-Dearborn for the 1998 NAIA Great Lakes Region Tournament which will begin on Thursday evening.
MVNC (51-5) enters the 12-team tournament as the third seed after winning the American Mideast Conference Tournament in straight games. The Lady Cougars have been ranked third in the Great Lakes Region for most of the year, and the team has been as high as #24 in the NAIA national poll.
MVNC has advanced to the semifinals of the Great Lakes Region Tournament in two of the previous three seasons, but the Lady Cougars have never made it to the championship match. However, this year's team would like to change all of that by adding a new chapter to the already lengthy MVNC volleyball history book.
"It is an honor to represent our school and our conference at this extremely competitive tournament," said head coach Paul Swanson. "We have worked hard all season to get to this point, and now we must go out and perform. Our first goal is to make it to the semifinals. From that point, the goal would be to earn our way into the championship match with a shot at going on to the NAIA National Tournament."
The Lady Cougars, who are the top seed in Pool C, will begin pool play against tenth-seeded Indiana Wesleyan University at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday. These two teams met back in early September when MVNC won on its home court in three straight games. The Wildcats (35-14) have put together an impressive season despite playing in the rugged Mid-Central College Conference.
The Lady Cougars' second pool play match will get under way at 10:00 a.m. on Friday when MVNC squares off against seventh-seeded Dominican (IL) University. The Stars (34-13) compete in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The final pool play match will pit the Lady Cougars against fourth-seeded Madonna (MI) University at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. The Lady Crusaders (40-6) are the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference champions and will be looking to avenge an earlier five-game loss to MVNC at the Sports Authority Volleyball Challenge in October.
Pool A consists of Bethel (IN) College, the College of St. Francis (IL), the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Cornerstone (MI) College. Pool B is made up of Taylor (IN) University, Cedarville College, the University of Illinois-Springfield, and Siena Heights (MI) College.
The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single elimination portion of the tournament that begins with quarterfinal matches on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.