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November 9, 2011

Volleyball Set For NCAA Regionals

THIS WEEK: The Pacific Lutheran University volleyball team heads to Thousand Oaks, Calif., this Thursday to compete in one of eight NCAA regional tournaments across the country. PLU earned an at-large tournament berth after finishing second to Whitworth University in the Northwest Conference standings. With a 21-5 record on the season, the Lutes are making their fifth NCAA tournament appearance in the past six seasons. In the opening round of the tournament, PLU will face off with Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament champion Occidental College. The match is set for 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

FOLLOW THE LUTES: The Cal Lutheran athletic department will provide a video stream of all regional tournament matches. You can access the video stream at http://www.clusports.com/video/. Live play-by-play of PLU's first match against Occidental will be available on the PLU athletics website at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/plu.portal#

SCOUTING THE TIGERS: With a 21-8 record, the Occidental Tigers enter Friday's match with a five-match winning streak. The Tigers earned their place in the NCAA tournament after a thrilling 3-2 victory in the SCIAC tournament championship match over tournament hosts California Lutheran University. Junior Logan Boyer-Hayse leads the Tiger attack in 2011. The outside hitter is averaging 3.70 kills per set behind a .216 attack percentage. Stephanie Gann, a 5-11 sophomore outside hitter out of Annie Wright School in Tacoma, is second on the team with 2.59 kills per set while hitting .226, and 5-8 junior outside hitter Kasey Rose adds 2.15 kills per set and a .235 attack percentage. The Tigers are hitting at a .235 percentage as a team. With 13.73 kills per set, they ranked fifth among Division III teams through the end of October.

THE REST OF THE FIELD: Six other programs will be joining PLU and Occidental at this weekend's regional tournament in Thousand Oaks. Tournament host California Lutheran University (26-6) received an at-large berth to the tournament after losing an automatic berth in the SCIAC championship. Colorado College (31-6) earned an automatic berth through the team's Southern Colligate Athletic Conference championship. Hardin-Simmons (25-5), from the American Southwest Conference, won its conference tournament as well in order to receive an automatic bid. Southwestern (29-3) from Texas enters the tournament following another at-large bid. Chapman University (23-8) from Orange, Calif., rounds out the programs receiving at-large bids to the regional. The final team in the tournament is NWC champion Whitworth (19-6), who gained the conference's automatic berth to the postseason.

ABOUT THE REGIONALS: Eight teams will be competing at this weekend's single-elimination regional tournament for the region's elusive spot at the NCAA national tournament which is scheduled for Nov. 18-20 at Washington University in St. Louis. The winner of the PLU vs. Occidental matchup will face the winner of the contest between Colorado College and Hardin-Simmons. That match is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start on Friday. On the other side of the eight-team bracket, Southwestern Texas meets Chapman at 5:30, and Whitworth faces tournament host Cal Lutheran in the final match of the opening round at 8 p.m. Saturday's semifinal contests are scheduled to start at 3:30 and 6 p.m., with Sunday's final slated for a noon start. To view a complete national bracket of the NCAA DIII postseason tournament, click here.

PLU POSTSEASON HISTORY: This year marks the seventh season PLU has competed in the NCAA DIII postseason. The Lutes first appearance came back in 1999 when PLU won an opening round match against Bethel College before bowing out in the second round against California-San Diego. Pacific Lutheran did not reach the tournament again until the 2004 season and like 1999, the Lutes exited the tournament in the second round. That 2004 opening round victory against Mount Ida was the last time the Lutes won a match at the NCAA tournament. Although Pacific Lutheran did make the tournament from 2006-2009, the Lutes lost all four of their first round matches.