The women’s club volleyball teams fell short of expectations on Saturday in the regional tournament they hosted in Fetzer Gym. During the gold bracket round of the tournament, the A team lost in the third set to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
This tournament was critical for UNC as it affects its rankings for the main competition of the season, the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation’s championship tournament in Denver, Colorado, in April.
“In club (volleyball) we have ranking tournaments, which basically determine our seeding for the national tournaments, and this is our first of the year,” said UNC co-captain Maredith Devlin. “And also because there are only a certain amount, it brings in a lot more competition than our other tournaments of the year.”
In most tournaments, the teams face other North Carolina schools, but this tournament was more representative of what the teams will face at nationals, said the other UNC co-captain, Allison O’Connor.
Overall, UNC's A team finished at 2-2 for the tournament, beating UNC-Greensboro and Auburn University but losing to the University of South Carolina in pool play and UNC Charlotte in the bracket play.
The tournament allowed the teams to gain some confidence playing teams that would be similar to those they'll face at nationals. This confidence will be key when the teams compete at the championship, Devlin said.
“When you get to nationals, because there are a lot of teams you’ve never seen before, confidence is honestly one of the most important factors,” she said.
Despite their loss, UNC can take comfort in knowing that they were well respected by their competition on Saturday.
“They were really well rounded. They were really aggressive. You could tell they all played for a long time, and I thought they were really good. We haven’t played a team like that in a long time," said Tatum Kendall, a University of South Carolina player. “I expected them to win."
The volleyball teams look to bounce back next weekend when they travel down to the University of Georgia to compete in another ranking tournament. As for the national tournament, O'Connor expects the team to win.
The national title is a goal the club volleyball team has had for some time now, and Devlin said they have what it takes to win it all.
“We have all, at least the girls that are my year, have been actually thinking about actually playing in the championship for three years now,” Devlin said. “It gets to be played in a huge stadium and all of the other teams who didn’t make it come and watch, and even though we aren’t varsity athletes, it's really cool to have that stage at nationals.”
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