The Gustavus volleyball team received word on Monday morning that it has received an invitation to participate in the 2008 NCAA Division III National Tournament. Coach Kari Eckheart’s squad, which has compiled a record of 26-4, received one of 19 at-large berths to the tournament. The Gusties will travel to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. to play University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, which is 23-11, on Thursday, November 13 at 3:30 p.m.
Six other teams, St. Thomas, Saint Benedict, Concordia, Simpson, and Loras, are participating in the regional tournament. Saint Benedict, 26-6, will compete against Simpson, 20-14, at 1:30 p.m. Concordia, 20-5, will play, Loras, 32-4, at 6:00 p.m. Host St. Thomas, 27-2, will face UW-La Crosse, 27-11, at 8:30 p.m. The winners of Saint Benedict/Simpson and Gustavus/UW-Eau Claire will play on Friday at 4:30 p.m., while the winners of Concordia/Loras and St. Thomas/UW-La Crosse will play on Friday at 7:00 p.m. The regional championship will be at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.
This is the first national tournament appearance for the Gustavus volleyball team since 1986 when the Gusties advanced to the second round before falling to Elmhurst 3-0. Gustavus has compiled an all-time mark of 2-4 in NCAA Tournament play.
Thursday night’s contest will mark the 11th meeting between Gustavus and UW-Eau Claire with the Blugolds leading the all-time series 4-6. Last season, the Gusties defeated the Blugolds 3-0 in the first game of the year.