North Dakota State women’s volleyball team has earned the fourth seed for the 2015 Summit League Championship Tournament, which takes place Friday-Sunday in Denver, Colorado.
NDSU’s first match is at 5 p.m. against the fifth-ranked University of South Dakota.
Out of the nine Summit League conference teams, six make it to the conference tournament.
University of Denver, the regular season conference winner, is No. 1, followed by Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, University of Nebraska-Omaha, NDSU, USD and Oral Roberts University.
This is Denver’s second straight year winning the regular season title. Since the team won the title last year, that ensured this year’s tournament would be played in Colorado.
Denver and IUPUI both get quarterfinal round byes and have matches on Saturday against the winners of NDSU/USD and UNO/ORU.
The goal all season has been to win the Summit League Championship for NDSU, and in August before school even started lone senior Jenni Fassbender said, “We are really pushing for the Summit League Tournament. Our biggest goal is to get to the NCAA tournament this year.”
All the momentum
The Bison are coming off a four-game winning streak, with a 3-0 victory over ORU in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The streak started nearly two weeks ago against IPFW in the Bentson-Bunker Fieldhouse.
The Bison won 3-0 and carried the momentum over to its next match against IUPUI on Senior Night.
The third win went to 5 sets in Brookings against SDSU. Although struggling while away all season, its last two wins were on the road and locked in a spot in the Summit League Tournament.
NDSU has won seven of its last nine matches, with the only two losses coming against USD and Omaha; the loss to Omaha dates back to Oct. 23.
NDSU’s record is 19-11, 10-6 in conference.
One statistic to note is the away win-loss record and the neutral win-loss record.
Three weeks ago, NDSU’s away record was 2-7. Now it’s 5-8 with big wins at ORU and SDSU.
In a neutral setting the Bison are undefeated: 6-0.
While the Summit League Championships are held in Denver, on DU’s campus, the Bison could potentially face the Pioneers in the semifinal round.
Even playing field
Of the five other teams in the tournament this weekend, NDSU has split matches with four out of the five of them.
The Bison are 1-1 against IUPUI, USD, DU and ORU. The other team, UNO, has a 2-0 season advantage over the Bison.
Fortunately for the Bison student-athletes, the only time they would face the Mavericks would be in the championship match on a neutral court.
Last year, the Bison beat ORU in the quarterfinal round and fell to DU 0-3 in the semifinal round.
Where to watch
The entire Summit League Tournament will be televised on Altitude or Altitude 2, a channel not typically available in North Dakota.
The quarterfinals on Friday and semifinals on Saturday are all available on Denver’s website for streaming: denverpioneers.com.
The championship match can be streamed on www.espn3.com.